Cable-stayed Bridge - History, Facts and Types

Erasmus Cable Stayed Bridge

Cable-stayed bridge is a bridge similar to suspended bridge in that it has towers and a deck that is held by cables, but its cables hold the deck by connecting it directly to the towers instead via suspender cables. It usually carries pedestrians, bicycles, automobiles, trucks, and light rail. It is used in places where spans need to be longer than cantilever bridge can achieve (because of its weight), but the span is short enough so a suspension bridge is not practical there economically.

Venetian inventor Fausto Veranzio was the first to design cable stayed bridges (he was also the first to design modern suspended bridge). He published his works in 1595 in his book “Machinae Novae”. First built cable-stayed bridges appeared in the 19th century and many early suspension bridges were cable-stayed like footbridge Dryburgh Abbey Bridge, James Dredge's Victoria Bridge, in Bath, England (Built in 1836), Albert Bridge (built in 1872) and Brooklyn Bridge (1883). Other early cable-stayed bridges in the United States were Barton Creek Bridge between Huckabay, Texas and Gordon, Texas (built in 1889), bridge over Bluff Dale, Texas, (built in 1890a and it still largely stands).

Constraction of this type of bridge continued into the 20th century when where built “Cassagnes bridge” (designed by A. Gisclard), le Coq's bridge at Lézardrieux in Brittany, France (designed by G. Leinekugel and built in 1924), and aqueduct at Tempul in 1926. Concrete-decked cable-stayed bridge over the Donzère-Mondragon canal at Pierrelatte was designed by Albert Caquot in 1952 and was one of the first the modern cable-stayed bridges but no other that came after, looked up to it. Strömsund Bridge designed by Franz Dischinger in 1955 had more influence on the design of the later bridges and is more often mentioned as the first modern. Fabrizio de Miranda, Riccardo Morandi and Fritz Leonhardt are the design pioneers of the modern cable-stayed bridge and their designs had very few stay cables which was modern but resulted in higher erection costs. Later designs have much more cables which is more economic in the terms of building.

Cable Stayed Bridge by Fausto Veranzio

A cable-stayed bridge can be built in different variations:

  • A side-spar cable-stayed bridge” has only one tower and is supported only on one side. One bridge built on this principle is bridge in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and is made to carry pedestrians. Other is Jerusalem Chords Bridge which is also made to be curved which this design allows for.
  • Cantilever-spar cable-stayed bridge” has a single cantilever spar on one side of the span. Its spar is made to resist the bending caused by the cables because cable forces of this bridge are not balanced by opposing cables and bridge applies large overturning force on its foundation. Puente de la Mujer (2001), Sundial Bridge (2004) and Chords Bridge (2008), all in Spain, are bridges of this type.
  • Multiple-span cable-stayed bridge” is a cable-stayed bridge with more than 3 spans. It is a more complex bridge because the loads from the main spans are not anchored back near the end abutments. This also makes structure less stiff so additional design solutions (like “cross-bracing” stays and stiff multi-legged frame towers) have to be applied.
  • Extradosed bridge” has stiffer and stronger deck and its cables are connected to the deck further from the towers which are also lower than those of standard cable-stayed bridges.
  • Cable-stayed cradle-system Bridge” is one of the newest variants. It has so called “cradle system” which carries the strands within the stays from bridge deck to bridge deck. These cables are continuous which means that this bridge has no anchorages in the pylons and its cables can be removed, inspected and replaced individually.
Erasmus Bridge