Iconic Bridges of America

Bridges do so much more than connect our roads: they showcase world-class engineering and spectacular landscapes. This poster series celebrates ten bridges that have shaped skylines, defined cities and states and become destinations in their own right.

Illustration of The Golden Gate Bridge
Illustration of Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Illustration of O'Callaghan Tillman Memorial Bridge
Illustration of Penobscot Narrows Bridge
Illustration of George Washington Bridge
Illustration of Brooklyn Bridge
Illustration of Bixby Creek Bridge
Illustration of Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
Illustration of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge
Illustration of Royal Gorge Bridge
Illustration of The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge

The strikingly colorful steel and distinctive Art Deco touches make the Golden Gate Bridge one of the most recognized landmarks in the world. Architect Irving Morrow pushed for the suspension bridge’s vivid shade of international orange, not only to contrast with the blue of the Pacific Ocean, but to also make it visible in the dense, gray fog that rolls across the Golden Gate strait almost daily. Heavier than the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge is held together by 1.2 million steel rivets and was once the world’s longest suspension bridge. Celebrations went on for a week after it opened, and today the structure is one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist attractions.
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Illustration of Chesapeake Bay Bridge
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Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Often referred to as one of the scariest bridges in the world, this dual-span steel suspension bridge snakes across the Chesapeake Bay for just over four miles. Built in 1952 to connect a stretch that previously had to be traveled by ferry, the bridge’s five lanes of traffic can be adjusted to ease congestion. The structure’s height, gentle inclines and curves reveal an expansive view of the Bay on either side, and the minimalist design is striking when seen from a viewpoint like Sandy Point State Park. However, you’ll want to keep your eyes on the road when crossing this bridge, as its low guard rails, narrow span and see-through railings leave some drivers feeling exposed. But if you get cold feet, don’t worry - there’s a service that will take you across in your own car.
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Illustration of O'Callaghan Tillman Memorial Bridge
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O'Callaghan Tillman Memorial Bridge

This concrete arch bridge is the highest in America, and the best place to find vertigo-inducing views of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the towering rocks of the Black Canyon. Located less than an hour’s drive from the Las Vegas strip, it was built as a faster, safer way to cross the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada. Its open structure was designed to withstand winds, earthquakes and heavy service loads without encroaching on the views of the dam or surrounding area. The bridge is a fitting tribute to the two war heroes it's named after. Mike O'Callaghan was a former Nevada governor and Korean War veteran, and Pat Tillman was an Arizona Cardinals football player who lost his life in Afghanistan, aged 27.
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Illustration of Penobscot Narrows Bridge
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Penobscot Narrows Bridge

This bridge seems to grow out of the countryside itself, appearing through the trees to span the Penobscot River (the “narrows”). The carbon composite cables were an engineering first, fanning out from two narrow, tapering concrete pillars that form the highest part of the bridge. Acting as observation towers, these pillars provide unrivalled panoramic views of the Maine countryside, including Fort Knox and the village of Bucksport, all the way to Mount Katahdin on a clear day. Built to replace the corroded Waldo-Hancock Bridge, civil engineers view the structure as a major innovation for cable-stayed bridges, which require less cable and are faster to build than suspension bridges.
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Illustration of George Washington Bridge
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George Washington Bridge

Crossing the Hudson River, this bridge’s two decks allow 14 lanes of traffic to travel between Fort Lee in New Jersey and Washington Heights on Manhattan Island. Over 108 million cars drive beneath the lattice steel towers of this iconic suspension bridge every year. However, the signature metal towers were not actually intended to form the finished product. Granite stone was initially chosen to match the rugged landscape of the New York shore, but due to cost considerations, the light gray framework and 107,000 miles of steel wires were left exposed. The result is now an essential part of the New York skyline, overshadowing the tiny, red lighthouse in Fort Washington Park below.
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Illustration of Brooklyn Bridge
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Brooklyn Bridge

This iconic suspension bridge over the East River is one of the most recognizable parts of the New York skyline. The foundations were dug by men working underwater in “caissons” - giant wooden boxes that were filled with compressed air and submerged. Costing $15 million, it was the world’s first steel suspension bridge and was regarded as a major breakthrough in suspension bridge technology. The addition of a web truss to either side of the bridge roadway significantly stabilized the structure. The Brooklyn Bridge took 14 years to build and claimed the lives of at least 27 men who worked on it, including designer and architect John Augustus Roebling. In 1884, after the bridge was completed, 21 elephants were led across to prove its stability and the sturdiness of its foundations.
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Illustration of Bixby Creek Bridge
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Bixby Creek Bridge

One of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world, the Bixby Creek Bridge is also one of the country’s most photographed. As the gateway to the Big Sur region on California’s Pacific coast, engineers F.W. Panhorst and C.H. Purcell designed the bridge to blend in with nature. They chose concrete to match the crumbling cliffs and steep canyons below, focusing on “harmony between man and the environment”. Costing $200,000 to build, the bridge was designed to support six times the original anticipated traffic load, and in 1998 was retrofitted to withstand earthquakes at a cost of $20 million. The Bixby Creek Bridge has been featured in Jack Kerouac novels, numerous car commercials and recent television series, such as HBO’s Big Little Lies.
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Illustration of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
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Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

This bridge may not offer soaring heights or extravagant towers and cables, but is so long that for eight of its 24 miles you can’t see the land on either side. With New Orleans on its southern shore, the surrounding wetlands area and the flocks of migrating purple martins that roost under the bridge during the summer months, Lake Pontchartrain is one of Louisiana’s most scenic attractions. Initially built to save time traveling around the 630 square miles of lake, the first span of the bridge took just 14 months to build. The second span opened in 1969. In 1969, the bridge won the American Institute of Steel Construction Prize in the movable span category, for bridges with sections that move to allow boats to pass through.
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Illustration of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge
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Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

In Dallas, a huge arc rises above the Trinity River, illuminated and visible from all over the city. Along with 58 intertwining cables, this results in an otherworldly appearance at night. The unmistakable single-arched pylon that gives this bridge its modern, sleek look is typical of designer Santiago Calatrava’s style. During the day, the white steel lines of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge blend in with the sky, making them almost - but not quite - invisible. Built to connect the downtown area with West Dallas, the bridge is an integral element of urban regeneration efforts. It has both reinvigorated areas of the city and become an iconic part of the skyline.
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Illustration of Royal Gorge Bridge
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Royal Gorge Bridge

Crossing a heart-stoppingly high suspension bridge is just one of the adrenaline-fueled activities you can do in this area. When the steep, rocky sides of the gorge drop away and you're traveling 1,000 feet above the ground, the Arkansas River below is merely a small, gray trickle. The Royal Gorge Bridge was originally built to attract tourists and was created using crushed stone and granite from excavations in the canyon. It was regarded as the highest bridge in the world up until 2001, and is still the highest in the United States to this day. If crossing the bridge on foot isn’t terrifying enough, truly fearless tourists can also traverse the gorge via a zipline.
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Bridge Fact Link
Golden Gate Bridge Height, length http://goldengatebridge.org/research/factsGGBDesign.php
Date opened http://goldengatebridge.org/research/OpeningFiestaWeek.php
Daily traffic http://goldengatebridge.org/research/crossings_revenues.php
Copy http://goldengatebridge.org/research/facts.php#RivetsinTower
http://goldengate.org/exhibits/facts-and-figures-about-the-bridge.php
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Height http://www.mdta.maryland.gov/toll_facilities/wpl.html
Length http://www.dangerousroads.org/north-america/usa/5967-chesapeake-bay-bridge.html
Daily traffic http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/eastern-shore/bs-md-bay-bridge-20180314-story.html
Date opened http://archive.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/10/17/20101017hoover-dam-bypass-bridge-opening.html
O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge Height, length https://www.desertusa.com/desert-activity/hoover-dam-bridge.html
Daily traffic https://bouldercityreview.com/news/dam-good-views-thrill-bridge-inspector/
Date opened http://archive.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/10/17/20101017hoover-dam-bypass-bridge-opening.html
Penobscot Narrows Bridge Daily traffic https://www.johnweeks.com/cablestay/pages/csb25.html
Height, length, date opened https://www.johnweeks.com/cablestay/pages/csb25.html
George Washington Bridge Daily traffic https://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/statistics.html
Height, length, date opened https://www.panynj.gov/bridges-tunnels/gwb-facts-info.html
Bixby Creek Bridge Daily traffic http://bridgehunter.com/ca/monterey/440019/
Height, length, date opened http://www.discover-central-california.com/bixby-bridge.html
Copy https://roadtrippers.com/stories/bixby-canyon-bridge
Brooklyn Bridge Daily traffic http://goldengatebridge.org/research/factsGGBDesign.php
Height, length, date opened http://www.unmuseum.org/7wonders/brooklyn_bridge.htm
Copy http://www.unmuseum.org/7wonders/brooklyn_bridge.htm
https://www.6sqft.com/in-1883-21-elephants-walked-across-the-newly-opened-brooklyn-bridge-to-prove-its-safety/
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Height TBC
Daily traffic http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/news/communities/st_tammany/article_3c060fde-0e79-11e7-8acf-af77775b6606.html
Length https://www.aaroads.com/guides/lake-pontchartrain-cswy/
Date opened http://www.lakepontchartrain.net/lake-pontchartrain-causeway/
Copy https://www.aaroads.com/guides/lake-pontchartrain-cswy/
https://study.com/academy/lesson/lake-pontchartrain-causeway-construction-facts.html
https://csengineermag.com/article/the-lake-pontchartrain-causeway/
Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Height https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Margaret+Hunt+Hill+Bridge
Daily traffic https://www.dallasnews.com/news/news/2017/03/24/great-white-hoop-five-years-margaret-hunt-hill-bridge
Length https://calatrava.com/projects/margaret-hunt-hill-bridge.html
Date opened https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/margaret-hunt-hill-bridge-dallas/
Copy http://www.trinityrivercorridor.com/transportation/margaret-hunt-hill-bridge
Royal Gorge Bridge Height
Daily traffic http://www.koaa.com/story/36459859/record-breaking-year-for-royal-gorge-bridge-and-park
Length http://royalgorgebridge.com/13-fun-facts-about-the-royal-gorge-bridge-park/
Date opened https://coloradoencyclopedia.org/article/royal-gorge
Copy http://royalgorgebridge.com/tag/royal-gorge-bridge/