January 11, 2014

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Majestic, graceful, powerful — the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a breathtaking sight visible from vantage points in all five of New York City’s boroughs. The bridge celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014, which the U.S. Postal Service commemorates with this new Priority Mail stamp.
The digital illustration on the stamp captures the grandeur of the Verrazano, not only showing its sheer size and scale, but also giving a sense of the sweeping curve of the double-decker roadway. The artist chose to showcase the bridge at twilight, which offers an interesting play of light and shadow.

Named for explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first European to enter New York Bay, the bridge spans the Narrows, the strait dividing Upper and Lower New York Bay, and connects Brooklyn and Staten Island. The bridge’s two massive towers support four enormous cables that each weighs more than 9,000 tons. From each cable hang 262 suspender ropes that hold up the double-decker roadway. Each deck carries six lanes of traffic.

The bridge’s center span is 4,260 feet long—so long that its two monumental towers, soaring 690 feet into the sky, are spaced one-and-five-eighths inches farther apart at their tops than at their bases to compensate for the curvature of the earth.

At time of the opening of the upper deck on November 21, 1964, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. (The lower deck opened five years later.)

Designed by art director Phil Jordan, the stamp features a digital illustration created by Dan Cosgrove.

Stamp Issue: 2014

Arlington Green Bridge

The scenic Arlington Green Bridge in Bennington County, Vermont, takes center stage in this Priority Mail stamp. One of the most-photographed covered bridges in the state, it was built in 1852.

The digital stamp art depicts the red wooden bridge against a backdrop of autumn leaves. On the far side of the bridge, a white church steeple rises from a traditional village green. The bridge spans the Batten Kill trout stream in Arlington, just off Route 313 in southern Vermont. Although it stretches 80 feet across the stream, the bridge’s roadbed is only wide enough to allow one lane of traffic to rumble over its wooden planks at a time.

Stamp Issue: 2013.01.25

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

The U.S. Postal Service recognized the 25th anniversary of Florida's Sunshine Skyway Bridge by issuing the $5.15 Sunshine Skyway Bridge Priority Mail stamp. In the stamp artwork, the bridge rises from Tampa Bay's vivid blue water and is silhouetted against an orange sky. Tiny vehicles on the roadbed reveal the massive scale of this engineering marvel.

The new Sunshine Skyway bridge started with a disaster and concluded with the world's most beautiful bridge. The collision and loss of life which occurred on May 9, 1980, created an opportunity to build a new bridge which memorialized the 35 people who lost their lives that day; engaged state of the art design, engineering and construction and unified the Tampa Bay communities to create what is now the signature of Tampa Bay.

Construction began on the new bridge began two years after the tragedy. The new bridge featured on the stamp is one of the first major concrete-and-steel, cable-stayed bridges in the United States. Completed in 1987, the main bridge and approach spans stretch more than four miles across Tampa Bay and link the Gulf Coast communities surrounding St. Petersburg and Bradenton.

To many people the 42 brilliant yellow cables look like sails and their two supporting pylons like masts rising from the water. Engineers designed the cable-stayed section of the new bridge to soar 190 feet above the water to allow unhindered navigation to and from the busy port of Tampa.

Setting new standards for technical innovation and esthetics, the structural design is considered by many to be a modern masterpiece. Renamed in 2005 after the former governor who envisioned its construction, the Bob Graham/Sunshine Skyway Bridge has been the recipient of dozens of engineering and design awards.

The stamp, designed by Carl T. Hermann of North Las Vegas, NV, showcases a digital illustration created by artist Dan Cosgrove of Chicago, IL.

Stamp Issue: 2012.04.28

New River Gorge Bridge

The stamp features the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayette County, West Virginia, and is based on a digital illustration by Dan Cosgrove of Clarendon Hills, Illinois, depicting the bridge as sunset approaches.

One of the highest bridges in the United States, the bridge features a 1,700-foot span that is the longest steel arch in the Western Hemisphere. The Washington Monument could fit under its 876-foot arch with more than 100 yards to spare.


The two-hinged deck arch spans a gorge that, before its completion in 1977, required drivers 40 minutes to navigate because of narrow and winding roads. The steel and concrete bridge weighs more than 88 million pounds. Its unpainted, weathering steel oxidizes with age and becomes a rustic brown color that blends the bridge into its rugged surroundings. 

Held on the third Saturday of October, New River Gorge Bridge Day draws more than 100,000 people, including hundreds of rappellers, who descend down the bridge on ropes, and BASE (building, antenna, span, and earth) jumpers

Stamp Issue: 2011.04.11

The Mackinac Bridge

The Mackinac Bridge towers 200 feet above the windswept waters of Lakes Huron and Michigan.  “Mighty Mac” extends 5 miles across the Straits of Mackinac to link Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

Before the bridge opened in 1957, travelers waited in long lines to cross the channel by ferry or drove all the way around Lake Michigan and through Wisconsin to get to the other side.  The Mackinac Bridge shortened the trip to a ten-minute drive and opened the Upper Peninsula to tourism – adding an estimated $100 million a year to Michigan’s tourist trade.

Bridge designers took special precautions for Michigan’s severe winter weather.  Grated openings between the center lanes improve airflow and prevent the road deck from being pushed up by strong winds.  During high winds, the road deck can also move up to 35 feet from side to side to keep the bridge from buckling.

Some drivers are uncomfortable crossing the Mighty Mac.  Bridge personnel call these commuters “timmies,” because they are too timid to drive across.  The bridge authority provides them with a chauffeur at no extra fee. 

On September 6, 2009, the 150 millionth vehicle crossed the Mackinac Bridge.

Stamp Issue: 2010.02.03

Bixby Creek Bridge

With the blue waters of the Pacific rolling out below and the rugged mountains of Santa Lucia in the background, the Bixby Creek Bridge carries travelers toward their destinations. The California landmark also connects people with nature. 
Completed in 1932, the Bixby Creek Bridge introduced automobile travel to Big Sur, California.  Prior to its opening, travelers endured rough wagon roads.  The 30-mile round-trip journey from Monterey to Big Sur used to take 3 days.  The bridge has improved travel and opened up tourism to the region.  

Bixby Bridge is a tourist destination in itself.  Using Art Deco style, the sweeping arch and slender columns make it appear part of the natural landscape.  Rather than cut through the countryside, Bixby was purposely designed to preserve and complement it.  The two large pillars are set wide apart, allowing Bixby Creek to run its natural course.  The columns are also set directly into the canyon wall, reducing the amount of excavation needed.

Bixby Creek Bridge is one of the most recognizable landmarks in California.  Spanning Rainbow Canyon, the bridge combines art, conservation, and function.  Its beauty is matched only by the ocean waves crashing on the sandy shores below.

Stamp Issue: 2010.02.03