Herbert Rothman, 91, a bridge engineer who worked on historic structures throughout the nation and was a colleague of legendary bridge designer O.H. Ammann, died on July 25 in Long Island, N.Y. The cause was injuries sustained in an automobile accident, according to Betty Cordellos, Rothman’s daughter.
A principal and partner of Weidlinger Associates, 36-year employee and founder of its Transportation Group, Rothman led major rehab projects on the Manhattan and George Washington Bridges in New York City, and was a key contributor to the design of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s east span—the world’s longest self-anchored suspension span.
His many industry accolades included the John A. Roebling Medal from the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania and being named “Bridge Engineer of the Year” by the Institute for Bridge Integrity and Safety. In 1990, Rothman was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for “outstanding contributions to the design and rehabilitation of hundreds of bridges of all types and for exceptional contributions to the understanding of wind effects of complex structures.”
Ray Daddazio, Weidlinger president and CEO said that “It goes without saying that Herb’s accomplishments rank him as one of the greatest bridge designers of his era.”
“When you look as his accomplishments—especially reflecting upon his last work, which was the new design of the replacement for the East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge—it conjures up images of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment or Verdi’s Othello—that is, masterpieces accomplished when most people would be retired," added Daddazio. "Perhaps more importantly is the mentorship that he provided to a generation of engineers, inspiring them in what it takes to be a good engineer and honorable person.”