The Great Bridge: the Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge

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EM – 612 B Group D
Luigi Ballarinni
David DeBorja
Matthew Gelmetti
Jonathon Lum 

1.Executive Summary3
3.Statement of Problem5
4.Project NTCP Analysis7
5.Project Approach11

The goal of the Brooklyn Bridge was to allow people to cross the East River without waiting for a ferry, which at the time was the only way to travel to from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The new bridge would allow people to walk, ride a carriage, and even ride the rail, so people and goods could easily travel from one side to the other. This project made groundbreaking revelations; this included using engineering techniques which had not been used in the type of scale to their extent. Two types of engineering practices were the use of caissons for the foundation and a suspension bridge system, both of which had been limited in use before the Brooklyn Bridge. The way in which Roebling approached the Brooklyn Bridge was a critical component of the management project; he had a vision in mind before being granted the project and executed the project according to his elaborate plan. Although the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was incredibly successful, the approach taken had left the very little room for error for the designers. Much of the success lies in the fact that the Roeblings had gotten most of the characterization correct. However, without any contingencies, the plan lacked much flexibility to adjust to any major setbacks to the project. The Brooklyn Bridge has progressed history in more ways than just one: even though it was one of the greatest marvels of the 19th century, it seems to have driven us to now always push the limits of engineering to its physical bounds and even past them.

The following NTCP chart displays the categorization of the project, and the approach that the Roeblings had taken (shown in red):  
In the early 1800’s, Brooklyn and New York (Manhattan) were considered two separate cities. Even though they were just separated by a mile of water, the amount of trade which could be done between the two cities was severely limited. Their location along the eastern seaboard and the accessibility of their ports through the East River, made these two cities among the most prosperous in the United States. The East River prevented the two cities from utilizing the advantage of their proximity to each other. This was mostly due to the fact that the most common route from Brooklyn to New York was to take a ferry across the East River. Many problems were arising from the situation of only having ferries to get across the East River. This was resulting in long queues, overcrowded waterways, and dangerous conditions among others. In particular, the long queues seemed to be the largest problem; just one mile of water was stopping people from transporting anything whether it be their car or their time perishable cargo across to New York or Brooklyn. To have another way across, would allow for people to cross the East River without waiting as long. Business for these merchants would be easier with a method to cross the East River that did not involve ferries. It was often said that taking a train to Albany was faster and easier than trying to cross the river.

The detrimental effects of not having any way across the East River except for the ferry climaxed in the winter of 1866-1867. Being that this was an extremely cold winter, much of the East River had frozen over leaving most traffic between New York and Brooklyn at a standstill because the ferries were not able to get across. This prompted the New York Bridge company to charter a project which would allow people to get from one city to the other in a time effective method that was not by ferry....
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