1. Leffert Buck Cut Many Corners On Construction To Save Money
Aside from not galvanizing the wires, Leffert also used only one suspender rope to connect the deck of the bridge to two main cable ropes. What this means is that if that one suspender rope were to snap, you would lose the support of the two main cables. Only almost 90 years later during the rehabilitation of the bridge did the engineers do away with the one suspender rope, adding instead a suspender rope coming off of each main cable.
2. It Has A Unique Diamond Shaped TrussSide view of the bridge featuring the diamond truss.
The shape of the steel going across the bridge horizontally has a kind of diamond shape to it, that is a “Lattice” truss, also known as a “Town” truss. Previously, the old Willis Avenue Bridge connecting the Bronx to Manhattan over the Harlem River, used to also have a diamond truss. But after it was replaced, the Williamsburg Bridge became the only one in New York City with a diamond truss. Additionally, since the trains run on the middle lane, the truss was able to be constructed at 40 feet, making it more stable.
3. Additional 1990s Replacements
The intense repair the bridge underwent beginning in 1991 had several issues that needed to be addressed. One of them included updating the deck. The original deck was made of 6 to 7 inch thick concrete, making it very heavy. It was replaced with what’s called an orthotropic deck, a kind of steel deck plate fastened transversely or longitudinally. This made the Williamsburg’s deck much stronger and lighter than the original concrete.