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Opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. It stretches 5,989 feet (1825 meters) across the East River and connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. At the time of its construction, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world and the first steel-wire suspension bridge. The bridge was designed by the New Jersey architect John Augustus Roebling, who died before construction began after he contracted tetanus from a wound sustained in a ferry accident during surveys for the bridge project. Built from limestone, granite, and cement, the Brooklyn Bridge is an example of Gothic-style architecture, with its characteristic pointed arches topping twin passageways through huge stone towers. Because Roebling designed a bridge and truss system six times stronger than he thought it needed to be, the Brooklyn Bridge is still standing, while many other bridges built around the same time have had to be replaced.
In the past, the inside lanes of traffic on the bridge carried the elevated trains of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transport (BMT) Corporation from stations in Brooklyn to a terminal at Manhattan's Park Row. Streetcars shared the other lanes with other traffic until the elevated trains stopped using the bridge in 1944 and the streetcars moved to the center lanes. Six years later, the streetcars also stopped running, and the bridge was rebuilt to its present configuration, with six lanes of automobile traffic. A separate walkway runs along the centerline for pedestrians and bicyclists, and boasts some of the best views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.
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