The Brooklyn Bridge

Types of Bridges & Emily Roebling

Episode 2: The Brooklyn Bridge - Types of Bridges & Emily Roebling

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The Brooklyn Bridge is a stellar example of engineering pushing boundaries. It was the longest bridge of its time, it was the first to use steel cables, and a slightly strange and scary method was used to build its foundations deep in the Hudson River.

Even more fascinating, is the family behind the project. Engineer John Roebling, his son Washington, and Washington's wife, Emily Warren Roebling.

To start with, we hear from the wonderful Erica Wagner, author of Chief Engineer, a book about the Roebling family, in particular Washington Roebling (we're not judging her for the contents of her wallet...). She delves into the stories of these three extraordinary characters, their highs, and their lows, and explains how a woman ends up running a project for 11 years during the 19th century. Unheard of. Roma is a particular fan of Emily and considers her an idol. 

We get a potted history of the different types of bridges out there. Why choose one over the other? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different forms? Oliver Broadbent does a rather splendid job answering this tricky question! An engineer, educator and podcaster, he brings colourful anecdotes and fun facts to this episode. 

If you want to see pictures or know more about the different types of bridges that Oliver tells us about, here is just one of many links you can visit:

The first bridge we hear about is the beam bridge, here's how that works. To clarify, that's a carrot.

Roma tells us a bit more about cable-stayed bridges:

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