October 26, 2021


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Bridge Structures to View While Travelling

2 min read

Each year, people travel to many different destinations. Summer is a popular time for road trips, and there are some beautiful bridges that can be crossed along the way. You might want to look at some of them up close on your own road trip, or just take an electronic web journey to view the fantastic features. Let’s take a look at what type of bridges you can find.

There are about 4 different styles of bridges. The type used will likely depend on its purpose, and cost factors. The types of bridges are arched, suspension, beam, and cantilever. Within three types there are sub-types, such as tied arch (arched), cable (suspension), and truss (beam). Cantilever has no sub-type.

When constructing a bridge, structural engineers are needed to ensure that it is built properly, to handle the anticipated weights and movements. A bridge for a train may be different than one for passenger cars or for tractor-trailers hauling cargo. For smaller traffic needs, a beam bridge is most cost effective with simple construction, but where high volume or weight is expected, the suspension bridge could be the best option, especially if there is a large body of water or terrain to be crossed.

Some famous bridges that one might want to see include Scotland’s “Forth Railway Bridge”, which is a steel cantilever design and measures about one and a half miles in length. The longest central suspension span in a bridge is currently in Japan, which is the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. The central section span is approximately 1.2 miles, and there are three spans in total. I recently visited the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos, NM. It is a beautiful steel bridge, spanning 1,280 feet over the Rio Grande, and has some sections added to the sides for photos and to look straight down into the Gorge. It is typically very windy due to the altitude of the nearby mountainous area and the depths of the canyon itself. If you are heading to New York anytime soon, you might cruise on over to the Bayonne Bridge which connects New Jersey and Staten Island. This is one of the oldest arch bridges, where final construction was made in 1931.

It is amazing how people have created such beautiful structures, allowing a physical connection where there once was none. One can look at the photos on the internet or from friends who have visited these wonderful places, but there is nothing like actually being there – to feel the wind in your hair, viewing the heights of the cables or arches above or looking below to feel the depth of the land or water below. Many people are in a hurry, driving right on by these marvelous achievements on their road trip, wishing to arrive at their destination quickly. Maybe on your next trip, you will take a few moments to capture the bridges’ that lie upon your path and enjoy the artwork that they truly are.


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