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Lesson 17

The longest suspension

bridge in the world

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  • Lesson 17
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  • The longest suspension bridge in the world
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  • How is the bridge supported?
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  • Verrazano, an Italian about whom little is known,
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  • sailed into New York Harbour in 1524 and named it Angouleme.
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  • He described it as 'a very agreeable situation located within two small hills in the midst of which flowed a great river.'
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  • Though Verrazano is by no means considered to be a great explorer, his name will probably remain immortal,
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  • for on November 21st, 1964, the longest suspension bridge in the world was named after him.
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  • The Verrazano Bridge, which was designed by Othmar Ammann, joins Brooklyn to Staten Island.
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  • It has a span of 4, 260 feet.
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  • The bridge is so long that the shape of the earth had to be taken into account by its designer.
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  • Two great towers support four huge cables.
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  • The towers are built on immense underwater platforms made of steel and concrete.
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  • The platforms extend to a depth of over 100 feet under the sea.
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  • These alone took sixteen months to build.
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  • Above the surface of the water, the towers rise to a height of nearly 700 feet.
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  • They support the cables from which the bridge has been suspended.
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  • Each of the four cables contains 26, 108 lengths of wire.
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  • It has been estimated that if the bridge were packed with cars,
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  • it would still only be carrying a third of its total capacity.
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  • However, size and strength are not the only important things about this bridge.
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  • Despite its immensity, it is both simple and elegant,
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  • fulfilling its designer's dream to creat 'an enormous object drawn as faintly as possible'.
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