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The Manhattan Bridge is a suspension bridge that crosses the East River in New York City, connecting Lower Manhattan with Brooklyn. The bridge was opened on December 31, 1909 and was designed and built by Polish bridge engineer Ralph Modjeski with the deflection cables designed by Leon Moisseiff, who later designed the infamous Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940. It has 4 vehicle lanes on the upper level (split between two roadways), and 3 vehicle lanes, 4 subway tracks, a walkway and a bikeway on the lower level. The upper level has 2 lanes in each direction, and the lower level can be one-way in peak direction or have 2 lanes in one direction and the other in the opposite direction. It once carried New York State Route 27 and later was planned to carry Interstate 478. No tolls are charged for motor vehicles to use Manhattan Bridge.

A new pedestrian walkway opened on the south side of the bridge in June 2001. It was also used by bicycles until late summer 2004, when a dedicated bicycle path was opened on the north side of the bridge.

  • Span 1,470 ft (448 m)
  • anchorage-anchorage length 2,920 ft (890 m)
  • total length 6,855 ft (2,089 m)

Subway tracksEdit

The bridge has four subway tracks on the lower level, two on each side. All four are in use; the two north tracks currently carry Template:NYCS Manhattan Bridge north service and the two south tracks carry N   Q service. On the Manhattan side, the south tracks connect to the express tracks of the BMT Broadway Line, and the north tracks connect to the IND Chrystie Street Connection (which feeds the IND Sixth Avenue Line). Between the bridge and the BMT Broadway Line, there is one station, at Canal Street (originally known as Broadway) located underneath the BMT Broadway Line station as well as the similarly named stations on the BMT Nassau Street and IRT Lexington Avenue lines. Free transfers are available to all platforms. The line then merges with the rest of the BMT Broadway Line north of the local Canal Street station, which serves trains to and from lower Manhattan.

On the Brooklyn side, the four tracks merge in a flying junction to create a four-track subway, which quickly merges with the two-track BMT Fourth Avenue Line (M   N   R  ). That line enters DeKalb Avenue station, after which two tracks split to form the BMT Brighton Line (B   Q) and the other four continue on the BMT Fourth Avenue Line (Template:NYCS Fourth center).

Due to the tracks being on the outside of the bridge, passing trains cause the bridge to tilt and sway. When compounded with a lack of maintenance by the New York City Department of Transportation, this led to the need to close the tracks for repairs. The north tracks, which had been more heavily used, were closed first, from 1986 to 1988. The south tracks were closed in 1988, and except for a brief period in 1990, remained closed to trains until July 22, 2001. The north tracks were again closed during off-peak hours in 1995 and full time again in 2001, until February 22, 2004, after which both tracks were again open.

When the bridge first opened, the tracks didn't connect to any others. The Manhattan Bridge Three Cent Line, a streetcar company, began operations on the subway tracks in 1912 until BRT (later BMT) trackage was connected to the bridge in 1915, and the trolleys were moved to the upper level roadways. In 1929, trolley service ended over the bridge.[1]

The four subway tracks came under operation by the BRT, which also had two tracks each over the Brooklyn Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge, as well as three two-track tunnels under the East River (Montague Street Tunnel, 14th Street Tunnel and 60th Street Tunnel). The Brooklyn side has not changed at all; it has always been fed by the four-track connection from the BMT Fourth Avenue Line. The Manhattan side has changed, however. When originally built, the two north tracks connected to the BMT Broadway Line (where the south tracks now connect), and the two south tracks curved south to join the BMT Nassau Street Line along tracks now used for storage (and no longer connected to the bridge).

Concurrent with the building of the Chrystie Street Connection (opened November 26, 1967) to connect to the north tracks, the south tracks were rerouted to the BMT Broadway Line connection, and the connecting tracks to the BMT Nassau Street Line were closed and subsequently removed.

(See also Manhattan Bridge)

External linksEdit

  1. BMT 4th Avenue Subway, accessed December 19, 2006