What is the first type of bridge that comes to mind when you hear the word “bridge”? Do you think of picturesque covered bridges dotting rural roads? Or perhaps a suspension bridge like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Brooklyn Bridge? Or maybe that metal truss bridge is your favorite. A concrete arch? A railroad bridge? A new bridge like the Lake Champlain Bridge (a modified network tied arch)?
Long before I thought about bridges the way I do now, and long before I knew about historic preservation, I had a favorite bridge. The Great South Bay Bridges carry the Robert Moses Causeway over the Great South Bay, which separate Captree and Jones Beach Island (both are parts of Long Island, NY). When we saw this bridge, it meant we were getting close to Grandma’s house and soon we’d be driving on Ocean Parkway, which was always one of my favorites roads.
The Great South Bay Bridge is a cantilevered steel through truss. The two-lane bridge was constructed in 1951, and its three-lane sister bridge was constructed in 1968 in order to handle additional traffic. At that time both bridges began carrying one way traffic. The western original bridge carries the southbound traffic and the newer, eastern bridge carries northbound traffic.
I remember these bridges undergoing rehabilitation when I was growing up. On our trips to Grandma’s house we’d watch the progress; during construction the bridges carried both directions of traffic since the decks were being replaced, one bridge at a time.
I still love these bridges, as a driver or passenger or pontist (bridge enthusiast). They are a landmark to me, a nostalgic trigger and a beautiful part of the Long Island landscape. Now that I work with bridges and appreciate truss bridges, I have a new level of love for the Great South Bay Bridges.
What about you? What is your favorite bridge? And why?
12 thoughts on “A Favorite Bridge”
My favorite bridge is also a metal truss bridge, The Peace Bridge, connecting Buffalo, NY to Canada. It was built in 1929 and called The Peace Bridge because over the 200 years of peace between USA and Canada – a beautiful thing to think about in a time of perpetual war worldwide. On a lighter note, the bridge has recently been outfitted with LED lights that draw attention to the bridge almost as a sculpture. Some photos here for everyone to see: http://www.buffalorising.com/2009/05/and-there-was-light.html.
One of the most memorable bridges for me is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and tunnel (CBBT). The 1964 structure was considered “One of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the Modern World” in an international competition at that time. The CBBT consists of more than 12 miles of low-level trestle, two 1-mile tunnels, two bridges, almost 2 miles of causeway, four man-made islands and 5-1/2 miles of approach roads, totaling 23 miles. Before the construction of this bridge, people took ferries across and drove longer distances around the bay to get to their destination.
My family would take this route every summer to go to the beaches in Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge symbolized for my brother and I that we were that much closer to our destination of fun in the sun with our extended family. My parents would sometimes stop at the overlooks to view the bay and any ships that might cross. As a child, it was a bit unnerving for me thinking about all those large ships passing over us while we drove through the tunnel, but I also thought of the marine life that be passing by!
I love the Bay Bridge Tunnel, too! My family occasionally traveled that way and we loved to stop at the pull off. What an amazing bridge (and tunnel).
I’ve actually crossed over that tunnel on a US Naval carrier a few times, not knowing the tunnel was there until the day I brought my grandpa on board and he mentioned it to me. I’ve gone through that tunnel many times as a child and a few times as an adult in the military.
Those bridges are awesome, and your photos of them are great.
I love truss bridges the most, I think, but a good stone arch bridge comes in right behind. And of course being from Indiana I have to tip my hat to our covered bridges.
One of my favorite feelings in the world happens when I drive down the road and unexpectedly come upon a great old bridge. Seeing it emerge just gives me such a charge. Here are two I’ve come upon:
Thanks for sharing your posts. I agree – unexpectedly coming across a great bridge is such a fun part of traveling.
Being a military brat I’ve traveled across many bridges. The one that I can remember, because of its name, is the 8 mile bridge. But the one that I remember traveling across the most is the bridge crossing the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tenn into West Memphis, Arkansas.
There seem to be a few bridges in from Memphis TN to AK – do you remember the name?
I don’t know the name, my grandpa would’ve, but he had passed away 2 yrs this Sept. Maybe my dad might know, I’ll ask him in a few days when he gets home. I believe they are planning on building another bridge into Memphis because of the heavy traffic.
Hi, thanks for the great post. My favourite bridges are social ones – hence the name of my blog. Coming from Ireland, I think of people like US Senator George Mitchell who played such a role in the Peace Process in Northern Ireland and wonderful poets like W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney who have connected people right across the world.
Interesting connection; bridges of all kinds are great. Thanks for sharing.