Williamsburg Bridge 1903

Williamsburg Bridge 1903

© ATGImages

The Bridge

The Williamsburg Bridge connects Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan in New York City, across the East River. It was opened twenty years after the Brooklyn Bridge, which is down river to the south west.

It now carries both rail lines and road vehicles, although originally carriages, rail and trolley lines were on the two decks. Additional support was added to the bridge to enable the expansion in vehicle use.

During the construction the separate cities of New York and Brooklyn were brought together as one, Greater New York, and the bridge became a key part of the physical link. It became another of the city’s iconic structures and a celebration of the use of steel, still a new material at that time and stronger and lighter than iron. The steel stiffening truss of both the deck and the towers are left exposed.

After decades with a lack of maintenance, a major refurbishment of the bridge was carried out in the 1990s.

Williamsburg Bridge

Stiffened-truss suspension bridge in New York City

Key Facts

Carries light rail, metro rail and road vehicles

Steel stiffened-truss suspension bridge


New York, USA

Across the East River

Between Brooklyn and Manhattan

Designers / Engineers

Leffert L. Buck

Henry Hornbostel


Steel suspension bridge

488m main span

2,227m total length

Main contractors

East River Bridge Co

John A Roebling Sons


Began in 1896

Opened 19 December 1903

Other long-span bridges