Bridges are fascinating marvels of engendering that have managed to infuse themselves in our history like no other architectural objects. If you ever wanted to know more about bridges, their types, largest bridge structures or tragic failures, here is the perfect place to do so.
Over the last 3000 years, engineers and architects have devised many ways of building bridges. Here you can see for yourself bridge types that are in use today, from what materials they are made, and for what uses are they built.
There are three main bridge areas which include all the basic components of bridge: Foundation, Substructure, and Superstructure. Bridges are complex structures, and since they can be made with many different materials and truss types, their components are almost too numerous to count. Here you can get informed about basic bridge parts and components.
Arch Bridge is one of the most popular types of bridges, which can today be found all across the world. Here you can follow their path through history, from their first inception some 3000 years ago in Greece, to their renaissance in Ancient Rome, all up to modern times.
Bridges are structures that need to be built to withstand incredible external forces and last for decades or centuries. Sadly many bridges have succumbed to their wounds and took with them many human lives. Here you can find some of the most famous bridge disasters in human history.
Suspension bridge is a very old type of bridge. It allows spanning of obstacles like rivers and chasms that other, more conventional, bridge types don't. But it didn't appear in the shape that we know today until more modern materials didn't appear.
Suspension bridges are relatively modern invention (at least those that are built to be large). They are cheaper and can have longer spans but can’t sustain as much weight as other types of bridges. Here are some variants of suspension bridges.
Cable-stayed bridge is a variant of a suspended bridge that is more economic that other types of bridges on middle distances and for middle loads. It also allows for some rather interesting designs.
To enable better utilization of truss structures, engineers and architects from all around the world have devised many types of trusses that can be used for the creation of incredible amount of structures. You can learn more about those truss designs and benefits of truss use here.
One of the first modern bridges to be made were truss bridges. They could be made of wood which some places had plethora and could withstand larger weights. They were later made of iron and steel. Many of those old modern bridges still stand.
A pratt truss bridge design includes vertical components and diagonals that slope down towards the center. It was invented in 1844 by Thomas and Caleb Pratt. It was a common solution for railroad bridges when wood truss elements were replaced for metal. Here you can learn more about its history, its basic capabilities, and some of its most famous bridges that use it.
A howe truss bridge design includes vertical members and diagonals that slope up towards the center. Its diagonals are under compression under balanced loading. It was invented in 1840 by Massachusetts millwright William Howe. Howe truss design proved to be instrumental not only in the development of several notable bridges at the end of an era of fully wooden bridges but also as an inspiration for the creation of other popular designs.
Modern cantilever bridge is one of the safest bridge variants because it can carry largest load. Since the dawn of the modern bridge, in 19th century, they were used to carry railroads.
Tied-arch bridge is a bridge that carries itself and can be constructed at places that have problems with unstable soil. It can be problematic if it is not maintained properly but there are tied-arch bridges that are over a century old and are still in use.
Beam bridge is the oldest and the simplest type of the bridge. It appeared when the first tree fell over the stream and a human crossed it. Today we still make bridges that use similar principle.
Footbridge is a bridge for pedestrians. It is often simple (although it doesn't have to be) and its purpose is to take pedestrians over some obstacle like a river, road traffic or a railroad.
First moveable bridges were built to prevent the enemy to reach the gates of the castle. Today they are made at places where a cheap bridge is needed but there is also a need for an unobstructed river traffic. Read more about different types of movable bridges.
One of the seven modern wonders of the world – Channel tunnel between Britain and France has a much longer history than we could assume at first sight. It existed in the minds of dreamers for two centuries.
Bridge to nowhere is a type of bridge where one or both ends are incomplete or broken and its path does not lead in any meaningful direction. Read more about bridges to nowhere purposes and varieties.
Culvert is a structure, usually of tunnel type that carries a stream or open drain under a road, railroad or any other obstruction from one side to the other side. Materials which can be used for culverts include a reinforced concrete, pipe or other material that have good performance when is embedded and surrounded by soil.
A trestle bridge is a bridge composed of a certain number of short spans which are supported by trestle frames. A trestle frame is a platform for supporting the weight and maintaining the stability of some object. This type of bridge is also called a trestle, because of a framework of frames which define the cross-section of a timber frame building or supports a trestle.
A viaduct is a bridge composed of a series of spans or arches that carries a road or a railway across a valley or a gorge. A viaduct usually refers to long bridges or series of bridges connected to one another by arch structures.