AMERICAN MOSAIC #818 - Famous American Bridges

By Nancy Steinbach


Our VOA listener question this week comes in an e-mail from Ukraine.Igor Gudymenko asks about famous American bridges.

People and vehicles use bridges to cross bodies of water, valleys and roads.If you ask people to name some famous American bridges, they probably will include the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Both are suspension bridges.They cross great distances and have roadways that hang from steel cables supported by high towers.

You may think the Golden Gate Bridge was named for its orange color.But it is named for the body of water that it crosses - the Golden Gate Strait. The Golden Gate Strait is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Gate Bridge links the city of San Francisco with Marin County, California.

Joseph Strauss designed the bridge. It opened in Nineteen-Thirty-Seven.The Golden Gate Bridge extends one-thousand-two-hundred-eighty meters across the water. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world until Nineteen-Sixty-Four. That is when the Verrazano Narrows Bridge opened in New York City. Still, the Golden Gate Bridge has become famous around the world. And many people consider it to be the most beautiful bridge structure in the world.

The Brooklyn Bridge is much older than the Golden Gate. It was one of the first great suspension bridges. It was built between Eighteen-Sixty-Nine and Eighteen-Eighty-Three. John Augustus Roebling designed the bridge.But he died as a result of an accident at the start of its construction.

His son, Washington Roebling, replaced him as chief engineer.But he became sick while working underwater. Washington Roebling was not able to go to the construction area. Yet he continued to direct the operations through his wife, Emily.

The Brooklyn Bridge links Brooklyn with Manhattan Island. It extends four-hundred-eighty-six meters over the East River. It was the longest bridge in the world until the Firth of Forth cantilever bridge was built in Scotland in Eighteen-Ninety. Today, thousands of cars, trucks, bicycles and people cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day.

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