This bridge is a beautiful example of a cantilever truss bridge. With simple deck plate girder approach spans that provide a long approach up to the needed height for boats, its main truss spans stand out boldly beside the simple girder spans. The bridge sits on attractive arched concrete piers. A true cantilever truss bridge, its main spans include a suspended span held by cantilever arms and balanced by anchor arm spans at either end. The bridge was designed by J. A. L. Waddell, a famous bridge engineer who is noted for his texts on engineering and for pioneering the modern vertical lift bridge. Despite serving heavy traffic, the bridge superstructure and substructure appears to retain excellent historic integrity with no major alterations.
This bridge was built at the same time and designed by the same engineer as the Goethals Bridge. Stylistically, the two bridges are very similar. However, there is one important structural difference. The Outerbridge Crossing has an extra through truss span at each end of the main span segment of the bridge. These extra spans are continuous with the three center main spans. This design feature is unusual among cantilever truss bridges and distinguishes this bridge are particularly noteworthy.
With the Goethals Bridge slated for demolition, the Outerbridge Crossing will only become more rare and significant. Its preservation should be given a very high priority. However, the demolition of the Goethals Bridge makes the future of this bridge, which is also owned by the Port Authority, questionable at best.
This is perhaps one of the most perfectly named bridges around. Its name is, just by coincidence, both in memorial of someone yet descriptive as well. The bridge was named Outerbridge after Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge, the first chairman of the Port of New York Authority as it was called at the time. However, Mr. Outerbridge's name also works nicely for this bridge which can be thought of as the "Outer Bridge" of New York City, being the southernmost bridge in both the city and the state.
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