New York Roads - Brooklyn Bridge - Roadway

Brooklyn Bridge from the roadway

The utilitarian steelwork of the approach is made beautiful, facing north along Pearl St. I'm sure this was added in the 20th century to give more vehicle clearance, as everything else about the bridge is stone.

Southeast views from the FDR drive ramps at the four suspension cables and deck steelwork, and then crossing the bridge into Brooklyn. I decided sunrise wasn't the best time and came back later for the rest. Like other bridges designed before bridge engineering became a practice of its own, the Brooklyn Bridge is greatly overbuilt for its purpose, which is why it was then able to add vehicular traffic and is still up after much more than 100 years. It's not going anywhere.

Looking southwest at the sunset on a different day.

WB button copy leaving the bridge, even though one of the three good signs is no longer applicable (due to City Hall security). There's no button copy in the eastbound direction. I cut out the non-button copy signs to preserve the quality of these photos within the width of the page (I try to keep them under 1,000 pixels wide). The last photo isn't button copy either, but it's an older style that tends to lose reflectivity quickly (didn't try it at night), after parting from the bridge roadway.

Nothing old about this ramp sign, but it's mounted on an original 1940's or 1950's sign support. There would have been a black-on-white sign with all sorts of awesomeness pointing the way onto the highway (back when it was the East River Drive).

Another old sign support, on Park Row EB.

The dodgy condition of the bridge rail over St. James Pl., which may not be original to the bridge but hasn't been maintained well.

Past some button copy and onto the bridge, Manhattan-bound, with its heavy pedestrian use. The trusses over the vehicle lanes serve to increase the effective bridge beam depth by 11 feet, an unprecedented fourth backup system (read about the other three below). In the penultimate photo you see the stonework detail of the classic Gothic bridge pier. Pedestrians need to get around either side of the central pillar of that pier, so as you see in the last photo that makes a great place to stop and enjoy the view. Of angry traffic snarling underneath you, perhaps.

Some sort of tall monument thingy clogging up New York Harbor near Ellis Island.

Taken from the pedestrian walkway but applicable to vehicles, these poorly designed signs attempt to be visible through the tangle of bridge supports. Somehow, a 3-line sign is suddenly acceptable at the end of the bridge, maybe under the assumption that people have figured out how to drive inside the truss by then.

Northward views of FDR Drive (decked over a surface street) and Manhattan Bridge.

Little incorrect green signs blaze a trail along Cadman Plaza West EB to Prospect Ave. They're really meant for I-278, and the cute attempted Interstate shields attest to that, but they also help local and I-278 EB traffic get to the Brooklyn Bridge.

On Prospect underneath, these are strain gauges measuring minute changes in separation between girders and cracks in the stone abutment of the WB onramp to the bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge itself is in fine shape, and will be for another 125 years as well, but the approaches need work.

From the I-278 WB Exit 28 ramp looking west toward Manhattan. In the detail of the second photo, you see that in addition to the suspension cables across the bridge, there are additional cables coming down from the towers. Not only does the Brooklyn Bridge have twice as many cables as needed to hold it up, it also has a THIRD backup of cable-stayed construction! That was a design decision by Washington Roebling (famous John's son, who completed the project that killed his father with tetanus), who was worried that even at four to six times the necessary design strength, the bridge still wasn't strong enough. The crossplay of the straight and diagonal cables lends unique beauty as well as staying power to this bridge.

Looking ahead WB (south) along I-278 from the bridge, at the beginning of the 4-deck section with I-278 EB on top of I-278 WB, both sandwiched between a park on top and a street on the bottom.

Spring has sprung in the park at the east end of the bridge.

See Brooklyn Bridge from the overhead walkway
Back to Brooklyn Bridge main page

Onto FDR Drive
Over to the Manhattan Bridge
Into Manhattan
Onto I-278
Into Brooklyn
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