|The Williamsburg Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City across the East River connecting Manhattan at Delancey St. with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn on Long Island at Broadway near the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (Interstate 278).|
Construction on the bridge began in 1896, with Leffert Lefferts Buck as chief engineer, Henry Hornbostel as architect and Holton D. Robinson as assistant engineer, and the bridge opened on December 19, 1903 at a cost of $12,000,000. At the time it was constructed, the Williamsburg Bridge was the largest suspension bridge on Earth. It remained such until the Bear Mountain Bridge was completed in 1924. The main span of the bridge is 1600 feet (488 m). It is 7308 feet (2227 m) long, between cable anchor terminals, and the deck is 118 feet (36 m) wide. The height at the center of the bridge is 135 feet (41 m) and each tower is 335 feet (102 m); these measurements taken from the river's surface at high water mark. According to the film Over The East River published in 1919 by the Ford Motor Company, the bridge had 4 trollies, 2 cable tracks, 2 roadways, and 2 foot walks.
The bridge is one of only two major bridges in New York City to carry both vehicle and rail traffic, the Manhattan Bridge is the other.
For a while the Long Island Rail Road used the tracks in the center of the bridge in tandem with the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company elevated railroad; today the New York City Subway J, M and Z trains use these tracks.
The Williamsburg Bridge was featured in the 1994 book The Alienist by Caleb Carr.
The bridge has been under reconstruction since the 1980s and celebrated its 100th anniversary in December 2003.