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The bridge spans the Havel narrows between the Jungfernsee (lake) to the north and the Glienicker Lake to the south. It carries the Bundesstraße 1 highway. The Glienicke Palace and Jagdschloss Glienicke are situated (across the highway from each other) near the east (Berlin) end of the bridge. Potsdam tram route 93 from Potsdam main station and Berlin bus route 316 from Wannsee station terminate and interconnect at a tram stop on the Potsdam end of the bridge. The respective Potsdam and Wannsee stations are served by the Berlin S-Bahn and by longer distance trains. 
A first wooden bridge across the Havel River at this location was built about 1660, in order to reach the hunting grounds around Stolpe . By the early 1800s, a new, non-wooden bridge was needed to accommodate the massive increase in traffic on the chaussee between the Prussian capital Berlin and the Hohenzollern residence in Potsdam. The architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed a brick and wood bascule bridge , which was finished in 1834. By the early 20th century, Schinkel's bridge was no longer able to handle the increased volume in traffic, and operating the moveable sections of the bridge caused delays in steamer traffic on the Havel River.
In 1904, the Prussian government held a design competition to replace Schinkel's bridge with a modern, iron bridge. The Johann Caspar Harkort Company of Duisburg submitted the winning design, and the present-day bridge was inaugurated on 16 November 1907.