Frank L. Stahl, 91, a Holocaust survivor who became a noted bridge designer and the chief engineer at Ammann & Whitney Consulting Engineers PC, at which he built and rehabbed many landmark U.S. spans and highways, died on April 17 in Sandy Springs, Ga. The New York City firm says his death was due to natural causes.
Stahl joined A&W in 1946, working directly for its legendary founder, O.H. Ammann. Stahl held key roles in designing Philadelphia's Walt Whitman Bridge and New York's Verrazano-Narrows and Throgs Neck bridges in the 1950s and 1960s as well as the New York State Thruway and the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, among others. While chief engineer from 1982 to 1993, the many design projects he supervised included a major seismic upgrade, redecking and general overhaul of the Golden Gate Bridge.
“In fact, it was due to his reputation as one of the world's leading authorities on suspension bridges that led to Ammann & Whitney's involvement in this work,” says A&W Vice President Andrew Sandor. “At the same time, he led the rehabilitation of the Williamsburg Bridge (between Manhattan and Brooklyn, N.Y.), which included plans and schemes to replace the main cables on this large suspension bridge, a task that had never been done before. The project never went forward, but the designs were complete.”
A former subcommittee vice chairman for the American Society of Testing and Materials, Stahl was cited for innovation and lifetime achievement by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the International Bridge Conference, among other groups. “Frank was a gifted and talented engineer,” says Sandor. Named in Stahl's honor in 2009, the firm's library contains an archive of original materials of landmark structures, many donated by Stahl that had once belonged to O.H. Ammann.