Saving the Williamsburg Bridge

by Jamey A. Barbas, P.E., Proj. Mgr.; Williamsburg Bridge Reconstr., Parsons Transp. Group, New York, NY,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2000, Vol. 70, Issue 10, Pg. 64-67

Document Type: Feature article


The Williamsburg Bridge, which has connected Brooklyn to Manhattan for more than 97 years, is midway through an ambitious 14-year, $800-million reconstruction that will save the venerable structure from being demolished and replaced. The refurbishment includes wire and strand splicing to preserve the existing suspension cables; repairs to the cable anchorages to improve the bridge's factor of safety; replacing the bridge deck with a new orthotropic steel deck that will eliminate the need for the stringers that had supported the old deck; replacing the subway tracks on the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT) line; replacing the riveted, built-up stringers on the main span with rolled members and aligning them closer to the train rails to avoid cracking; and replacing all of the built-up bracing members in the towers with roll-shaped members that will not corrode as fast as the older members. Other features included increased safety measures, such as newly designed roadway barriers and improved lighting. Work is scheduled to be completed in May 2005.

Subject Headings: Bridges

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