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What is a bridge?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Bridge = Structure carrying a pathway or roadway over a depression or obstacle
Bridge Design
American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
Bridges = Any structure having an opening not less than 6100 mm (20ft) that forms
I. Introduction & part of a highway or that is located over or under a highway
Historical Perspective Anything smaller is just a culvert




Historical Perspective of Bridge Construction Prehistoric

Prehistoric Prehistoric
Roman Period (70 BC - 476 AD) Bridges were simply
Middle Ages (500 AD -1500 AD) logs or bamboo lay
Inca Civilization (Peru, 1438-1533) over a stream
Cannot cross over a
Renaissance Period (1400-1600)
wide river
Industrial Revolution (1700-1900)
Twentieth Century (1900-2000)
Twenty First Century (2000-2100)
Roman Period Roman Period
Roman Period
(70 BC - 476 AD)
Roman discovered natural 117-180 AD
cement. Pozzolana is a
loosely coherent volcanic
sand found in Pozzoli near
Naples. When mixed with
lime, hydraulic cement is
Builders of Roman Empire
built mostly stone arch
bridges. Wood was scarce
and had to be used
8 stone arch bridges were
built, 6 still remain in rome
today Ponte de Tiberio (27 BC to 14 AD)
Rimini, Italy

Middle Ages Middle Ages

Middle Ages (500 AD -1500 AD) Old London Bridge
The bridge building and cement technology was lost (1176-1206)
after the fall of Roman Empire. Not much activity for London, UK
about 1,000 years.
Bridges were used to control traffic and as means of
Heavy stone structure with narrow openings
The bridge knowledge had to be re-learned about
1100-1500 AD
Middle Ages Middle Ages

Old London Bridge

Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrcke) (original 1333, partly rebuilt in 1993)
Lucerne, Switzerland
London, UK
204 m long wooden bridge

Middle Ages Inca Civilization

Inca Civilization (Peru, 1438-1533)
Rope bridge was developed around
1400 AD. This is an early type of
suspension bridge

Pont Valentre (1308 to 1355)

Renaissance Renaissance
Renaissance Period (1400-1600)
Many of the Roman knowledge were
rediscovered, including bridge building
Truss was first invented but not widely
used until later period

Pont Neuf (1578-1607)

Paris, France

Rialto Bridge, over the Grand Canal (1591) | Venice, Italy | 26.8 m span

Industrial Revolution Industrial Revolution

Industrial Revolution (1700-1900)
Age of Reason
Development of steam engines to replace
Railway Bridge
manual labor
Iron was first used in bridges in 1750 Goltzsch Valley,
Perfect masonry arch was developed Germany
31 m span

Westmister Bridge (1750)

London, UK
Industrial Revolution Industrial Revolution

Bridge over
Neckar River
Wood truss bridge was the first Isar River Bridge
kind of truss structure Munich, Germany
Several types of trussed were

Lederer Bridge
Amberg, Germany

Industrial Revolution Industrial Revolution

Iron was first used in bridges during Coalbrookdale Bridge (1785)

Types of Timber Truss UK
this period in about 1750
30.5 m span iron bridge
Industrial Revolution Industrial Revolution
John Roebling
(completed 1866)
322 m span

Firth of Forth Bridge (1890)

Steel started to replace wrought iron in the
late 1880s 521m span Suspension bridge was invented just before the 20th century
Steel is stronger and more ductile, which
allows engineers to build a bigger bridge

Industrial Revolution Industrial Revolution

Brooklyn Bridge (completed 1883)

New York, USA London Tower Bridge (1894)
also designed by John Roebling London, UK
Twentieth Century Twentieth Century
Twentieth Century (1900-2000)
Iron was completely replaced by Steel
Steel Truss bridge was widely used in the early period
Prestressed Concrete was developed by Fressinet in 1940s
Suspension Bridge was popular for long-span bridges
Cable-Stayed Bridge was first developed

Railroad Bridges (1906-1909)

Landwasser Gorge, Switzerland
55 m span

Twentieth Century Twentieth Century

Sydney Harbor Bridge (1938) Golden Gate Bridge (1937)

Sydney, Australia San Francisco, USA
parabolic arch 1280 m span
503m span
Twentieth Century Twentieth Century
Mackinac Bridge
Michigan, USA
1158 m span

Columbia River Bridge

1950 ft span

Twentieth Century Twentieth Century

Sunshine Skyway Bridge (1987)
Tampa, Florida
366 m span

Kocher Viaduct (1972)

Twentieth Century Twenty First Century
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (1998)
1991m central span

Gateshead Millennium Bridge (2000)

Gateshead, UK
126m span

Twenty First Century Twenty First Century

Millau Viaduct (2004)

Millau, France Millau Viaduct (2004)
341 m high (tallest in the world) Millau, France
342 m span