The Williamsburg: Rehab After All

by Rita Robison, Assoc. Ed.; Civil Engineering—ASCE, 345 East 47th St., New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 9, Pg. 75-78

Document Type: Feature article


Whether to repair or replace the Williamsburg Bridge has been seriously debated in New York City for years. Recently, a blue ribbon panel of technical advisors appointed by the Mayor conducted a world-wide competition for replacement designs. At the same time, they evaluated results of an in-depth inspection of the structure, which was closed in April 1988 for emergency repairs. In June, the Mayor announced that the panel recommends that the existing suspension span be repaired, the approaches rebuilt and the suspension cables re-oiled and rewrapped. The panel did, however, award three prizes and name three honorable mentions for replacement designs. The winners are: 1) Schlaich & Partner of West Germany for a suspension bridge with auxiliary stay cables. It would be constructed in halves and slid together after demolition of the existing bridge. The four main suspension cables are actually 12 small, independent cables; advantages are visibility for inspection and individual replacement. 2) The submission from T. T. Lin Int'l./N. H. Bettigole is a cable stayed bridge, also built around the existing bridge but with new subway tracks occuping the center portion after its demolition. The cables are prestressed, a design that Lin used in Taiwan in 1977. 3) Steinman Boynton Gronquist & Birdsall designed twin double-deck suspension bridges, built in stages on the existing alignment.

Subject Headings: Cables | Cable stayed bridges | Bridge design | Suspension bridges | Existing buildings | Rehabilitation | Inspection | Awards and prizes | New York City | New York | United States | Germany | Europe | Taiwan | Asia

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