On This Day – Manhattan Bridge Opening
110 Years ago today the Manhattan Bridge opened to traffic. The bridge was the last of the East River bridges to be constructed, following the Brooklyn Bridge (1883) Williamsburg Bridge (1903) Queensboro Bridge (1909). Utilizing a weight-saving Warren Truss, the bridge was the first modern steel suspension bridge and paved the way for future record-breaking bridges. The grand Beaux-Arts arch and collonade entry on the Manhattan side of the bridge was designed by Carrere & Hastings and opened in 1915. On the Brooklyn side, two female figures representing Brooklyn and Manhattan designed by Daniel Chester French flanked the entrance to the bridge. The statues were later moved to the Brooklyn Museum.
Today the bridge carries over 450,000 commuters daily; 85,000 vehicles; 950 subway trains carrying 340,900 riders across four subway lines; and 4,000 bicyclists on a protected bike path. Over three-quarters of all bridge crossings are public transit!