7. The Hell Gate Could Have Been A Different Kind of Bridge Altogether

A close up of the Hell Gate Bridge’s top chord. Photo by Dave Frieder

The Hell Gate could have almost been built as a crescent arched bridge but Gustav Lindenthal, who designed the span, felt a spandrel arch would make the structure appear stronger. In this design, the upper chord or arch reverses its curve as it comes close to the towers.

Gustav Lindenthal had two very well known engineers assist him with the bridge’s construction: Othmar Ammann, who designed the George Washington Bridge, Verrazano, Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone, Triborough and Bayonne Bridge, and David Steinman, who is known for building the Henry Hudson, the Marine Parkway and the mighty Mackinac Bridge between the north and south peninsulas of Michigan.