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Popular Bridge Building Terms
Without bridges, they only way in which a person can get from one land mass to another would be by boat, ferry, or aircraft. Modern transportation options include bridges which allow both vehicular and foot traffic the ability to drive or walk safely from one land mass to another. In order to have a better, more comprehensive understanding of the terminology utilized by the architects and contractors who construct our bridges, we must first understand the terms associated with the bridge building industry. Below are several terms to be familiar with when researching bridges and bridge builders.
Bridge Technician - A bridge technician is the person primarily responsible for keeping the project architects, engineers, supervisors, and contractors apprised of the progress within each bridge construction phase.
Suspension Bridge - A suspension bridge is a bridge which carries its deck with many tension members attached to cables draped over tower piers.
Bridge Truss - A bridge truss is distinguished by the location of the bridge deck in relation to the top and bottom chords, and by their structural behavior. Bridge trusses can be made from wood, timber, or metal.
Box Girder Bridge - A box girder bridge is a bridge where the main beams comprise girders in the shape of a hollow box. Box girder bridges are commonly used for highway flyovers with high vehicular volume and for modern elevated public transportation structures such as light rail transport. Although normally the box girder bridge is a form of beam bridge, box girders may also be used on cable-stayed bridges and other forms.
Beam Bridge - Classified as either a short-span or long-span beam bridge, which is supported on beams whose ends rest on piers or abutments.
Bridge architects and contractors work together to create safe, aesthetically pleasing structures for public or private use. The suspensions must safely span water, roadway, gorge, garden pond or other obstacles. Experts provide a structure that withstands vehicular weights of cars, light duty vans and tractor trailers. Covered structures usually have safe areas for pedestrians to walk. Some have bike paths for those riding bicycles or mopeds.
Fallen timber over a river is the simplest form of construction and the basis for modern structures. Greece's Arkadiko is the oldest structure. It's still in use today. Crated from stone arches, it assisted chariot drivers traveling in the Peloponnese region. The longest structure, stretching more than 540,500 feet, is the Danyang-Kunshan in China and is opening to rail traffic in 2011.
The materials used in the construction process range from wooden planks to steel girders. Many include concrete footings set into the riverbed. The process begins when workers remove old bridging, if required, and clear the site for the footings and access roads. Environmental engineers usually consult to ensure the habitats of land and aquatic animals are not disturbed. The architect or contractor creates a complex or simple design keeping maximum vehicular loads and intended usage in mind. The installed structure must be able to hold the vehicles traveling over the trusses and decking. Once the plans are approved by the town or in a public meeting, the building project begins.
Public safety is essential in customized bridge projects. Towns look for experts in the various forms or methods – boardwalks, suspension beam, cable or wood. Find a builder who specializes in the design you want to ensure quality and longevity.