Brooklyn Bridge 1883

Brooklyn Bridge 1883

© Sean Pavone

The Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge, over New York’s East River, is one of the landmark developments in bridge design and engineering. The 177m central span of the Menai Straits Bridge of 1826 in the UK gave way to a series of American suspension bridges and the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, with its 486m span, in 1883.

It was the first bridge to link Manhattan and Brooklyn and led to the latter officially becoming part of New York City in 1898.

John Augustus Roebling designed the bridge and developed a new way of building the suspension cable using individual steel wires. He was able to use this to full effect on Brooklyn to achieve the new world record central span. Unfortunately he died in the early stages of construction and his son Washington Roebling took over as Chief Engineer. He too suffered an accident on site but continued to oversee construction with his wife Emily.

The Brooklyn Bridge has a distinctive appearance with its vast Gothic towers and double arches and remains one of the most recognisable symbols of New York City.

Brooklyn Bridge

Connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan

Key Facts

Light rail / Metro rail / footbridge

Carries 6 lanes

Designated National Historic Landmark in 1964


New York, USA

Across the East River

Between Brooklyn and Manhattan

Designers / Engineers

John Augustus Roebling

Washington Roebling


Hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge

486.3m main span

1,833.7m total length

Main contractors

John A Roebling & Son

New York & Brooklyn Bridge Company


Began 2 January 1870

Opened 24 May 1883

Other long-span bridges