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This article is about the structure. For the card game, 2 History
see Contract bridge. For other uses, see Bridge (disam-
biguation) and Bridges (disambiguation). The rst bridges made by humans were probably spans of
cut wooden logs or planks and eventually stones, using a
simple support and crossbeam arrangement. Some early
Americans used trees or bamboo poles to cross small cav-
erns or wells to get from one place to another. A common
form of lashing sticks, logs, and deciduous branches to-
gether involved the use of long reeds or other harvested
bers woven together to form a huge rope capable of
binding and holding together the materials used in early

The Akashi Kaiky Bridge in Japan, currently the worlds longest

suspension span.

The Siosepol bridge over Zayandeh River is an example of

Safavid dynasty (15021722) bridge design. Esfahan, Iran

The Arkadiko Bridge in Greece (13th century BC), one of the

A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles oldest arch bridges in existence
without closing the way underneath such as a body of wa-
ter, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage The Arkadiko Bridge is one of four Mycenaean corbel
over the obstacle. There are many dierent designs that arch bridges part of a former network of roads, designed
each serve a particular purpose and apply to dierent situ- to accommodate chariots, between the fort of Tiryns
ations. Designs of bridges vary depending on the function and town of Epidauros in the Peloponnese, in southern
of the bridge, the nature of the terrain where the bridge is Greece. Dating to the Greek Bronze Age (13th century
constructed and anchored, the material used to make it, BC), it is one of the oldest arch bridges still in existence
and the funds available to build it. and use. Several intact arched stone bridges from the
Hellenistic era can be found in the Peloponnese.[2]
The greatest bridge builders of antiquity were the ancient
1 Etymology Romans.[3] The Romans built arch bridges and aqueducts
that could stand in conditions that would damage or de-
The Oxford English Dictionary traces the origin of the stroy earlier designs. Some stand today.[4] An example is
word bridge to an Old English word brycg, of the same the Alcntara Bridge, built over the river Tagus, in Spain.
meaning.[1] The word can be traced directly back to The Romans also used cement, which reduced the vari-
Proto-Indo-European *brw-. The word for the card ation of strength found in natural stone.[5] One type of
game of the same name has a dierent origin. cement, called pozzolana, consisted of water, lime, sand,


and volcanic rock. Brick and mortar bridges were built ments used, by what they carry, whether they are xed
after the Roman era, as the technology for cement was or movable, and by the materials used.
lost (then later rediscovered).
In India, the Arthashastra treatise by Kautilya mentions
the construction of dams and bridges.[6] A Mauryan 3.1 Structure type
bridge near Girnar was surveyed by James Princep.[7]
The bridge was swept away during a ood, and later Bridges may be classied by how the forces of tension,
repaired by Puspagupta, the chief architect of emperor compression, bending, torsion and shear are distributed
Chandragupta I.[7] The use of stronger bridges using through their structure. Most bridges will employ all of
plaited bamboo and iron chain was visible in India by the principal forces to some degree, but only a few will
about the 4th century.[8] A number of bridges, both for predominate. The separation of forces may be quite clear.
military and commercial purposes, were constructed by In a suspension or cable-stayed span, the elements in ten-
the Mughal administration in India.[9] sion are distinct in shape and placement. In other cases
the forces may be distributed among a large number of
Although large Chinese bridges of wooden construction members, as in a truss.
existed at the time of the Warring States, the oldest sur-
viving stone bridge in China is the Zhaozhou Bridge,
built from 595 to 605 AD during the Sui Dynasty. This
bridge is also historically signicant as it is the worlds
3.2 Fixed or movable bridges
oldest open-spandrel stone segmental arch bridge. Eu-
ropean segmental arch bridges date back to at least the Most bridges are xed bridges, meaning they have no
Alcontar Bridge (approximately 2nd century AD), while moving parts and stay in one place until they fail or are de-
the enormous Roman era Trajans Bridge (105 AD) fea- molished. Temporary bridges, such as Bailey bridges, are
tured open-spandrel segmental arches in wooden con- designed to be assembled, and taken apart, transported to
struction. a dierent site, and re-used. They are important in mili-
tary engineering, and are also used to carry trac while
Rope bridges, a simple type of suspension bridge, were an old bridge is being rebuilt. Movable bridges are de-
used by the Inca civilization in the Andes mountains of signed to move out of the way of boats or other kinds of
South America, just prior to European colonization in the trac, which would otherwise be too tall to t. These are
16th century. generally electrically powered.
During the 18th century there were many innovations
in the design of timber bridges by Hans Ulrich Gruben-
mann, Johannes Grubenmann, and others. The rst book 3.3 Double-decked bridges
on bridge engineering was written by Hubert Gautier in
A major breakthrough in bridge technology came with
the erection of the Iron Bridge in Shropshire, England in
1779. It used cast iron for the rst time as arches to cross
the river Severn.[10]
With the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century,
truss systems of wrought iron were developed for larger
bridges, but iron does not have the tensile strength to sup-
port large loads. With the advent of steel, which has
a high tensile strength, much larger bridges were built,
many using the ideas of Gustave Eiel.
In 1927 welding pioneer Stefan Brya designed the rst
welded road bridge in the world, the Maurzyce Bridge
which was later built across the river Sudwia at Maurzyce
near owicz, Poland in 1929. In 1995, the American
Welding Society presented the Historic Welded Structure
Award for the bridge to Poland.[11]

The double-decked George Washington Bridge, connecting New

York City to Bergen County, New Jersey, USA, is the worlds bus-
3 Types of bridges iest bridge, carrying 102 million vehicles annually.[25][26]

Bridges can be categorized in several dierent ways. See also: List of multi-level bridges
Common categories include the type of structural ele-
3.6 Bridge types by use 3

Double-decked (or double-decker) bridges have two lev-

els, such as the George Washington Bridge, connecting
New York City to Bergen County, New Jersey, USA, as
the worlds busiest bridge, carrying 102 million vehicles
annually;[25][26] truss work between the roadway levels
provided stiness to the roadways and reduced movement
of the upper level when the lower level was installed three
decades after the upper level. The Tsing Ma Bridge and
Kap Shui Mun Bridge in Hong Kong have six lanes on
their upper decks, and on their lower decks there are two
lanes and a pair of tracks for MTR metro trains. Some
double-decked bridges only use one level for street traf-
c; the Washington Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis re- The three-way Tridge
serves its lower level for automobile and light rail traf-
c and its upper level for pedestrian and bicycle trac
(predominantly students at the University of Minnesota).
Likewise, in Toronto, the Prince Edward Viaduct has ve
lanes of motor trac, bicycle lanes, and sidewalks on its
upper deck; and a pair of tracks for the BloorDanforth
subway line on its lower deck. The western span of the
San FranciscoOakland Bay Bridge also has two levels.
Robert Stephenson's High Level Bridge across the River
Tyne in Newcastle upon Tyne, completed in 1849, is an
early example of a double-decked bridge. The upper level
carries a railway, and the lower level is used for road traf-
c. Other examples include Britannia Bridge over the
Menai Strait and Craigavon Bridge in Derry, Northern
Ireland. The Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and
Malm consists of a four-lane highway on the upper
level and a pair of railway tracks at the lower level.
Tower Bridge in London is dierent example of a double- The railway bridge over Mura River in Mursko Sredie, Croatia
decked bridge, with the central section consisting of a low
level bascule span and a high level footbridge.

3.6 Bridge types by use

3.4 Viaducts

Main article: Viaduct A bridge can be categorized by what it is designed to

carry, such as trains, pedestrian or road trac, a pipeline
or waterway for water transport or barge trac. An
A viaduct is made up of multiple bridges connected into aqueduct is a bridge that carries water, resembling a
one longer structure. The longest and some of the high- viaduct, which is a bridge that connects points of equal
est bridges are viaducts, such as the Lake Pontchartrain height. A road-rail bridge carries both road and rail traf-
Causeway and Millau Viaduct. c. A bridge can carry overhead power lines as does the
Storstrm Bridge.
Some bridges accommodate other purposes, such as the
tower of Nov Most Bridge in Bratislava, which features
3.5 Three-way bridges a restaurant, or a bridge-restaurant which is a bridge built
to serve as a restaurant. Other suspension bridge towers
Main article: Three-way bridge carry transmission antennas.
Bridges are subject to unplanned uses as well. The areas
A three-way bridge has three separate spans which meet underneath some bridges have become makeshift shel-
near the center of the bridge. The bridge appears as a ters and homes to homeless people, and the undersides of
T or Y when viewed from above. Three-way bridges bridges all around the world are spots of prevalent graf-
are extremely rare. The Tridge, Margaret Bridge, and ti. Some bridges attract people attempting suicide, and
Zanesville Y-Bridge are examples. become known as suicide bridges.

To create a beautiful image, some bridges are built much

taller than necessary. This type, often found in east-Asian
style gardens, is called a Moon bridge, evoking a rising
full moon. Other garden bridges may cross only a dry
bed of stream washed pebbles, intended only to convey
an impression of a stream. Often in palaces a bridge will
be built over an articial waterway as symbolic of a pas-
sage to an important place or state of mind. A set of ve
bridges cross a sinuous waterway in an important court-
yard of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. The central
bridge was reserved exclusively for the use of the Em-
peror, Empress, and their attendants.

The Iron Bridge completed in 1781 was the rst cast iron bridge.
5 Bridge maintenance
3.7 Bridge types by material Bridge maintenance consisting of a combination of struc-
tural health monitoring and testing. This is regulated in
The materials used to build the structure are also used to country-specic engineer standards and includes e.g. an
categorize bridges. Until the end of the 18th Century, ongoing monitoring every three to six months, a simple
bridges were made out of timber, stone and masonry. test or inspection every two to three years and a major
Modern bridges are currently built in concrete, steel, ber inspection every six to ten years. In Europe, the cost of
reinforced polymers (FRP), stainless steel or combina- maintenance is higher than spending on new bridges. The
tions of those materials. Living bridges have been con- lifetime of welded steel bridges can be signicantly ex-
structed of live plants such as tree roots in India and vines tended by aftertreatment of the weld transitions . This
in Japan. results in a potential high benet, using existing bridges
far beyond the planned lifetime.

4 Aesthetics

Highway bridge with steel hollow box sections, performed for

lifetime extension by welding aftertreatment

The World Heritage Site of Stari Most (Old Bridge) gives its name
to the city of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
6 Bridge failures
Most bridges are utilitarian in appearance, but in some
cases, the appearance of the bridge can have great im- See also: List of bridge failures
portance. Often, this is the case with a large bridge that
serves as an entrance to a city, or crosses over a main har- The failure of bridges is of special concern for structural
bor entrance. These are sometimes known as signature engineers in trying to learn lessons vital to bridge design,
bridges. Designers of bridges in parks and along parkways construction and maintenance. The failure of bridges rst
often place more importance to aesthetics, as well. Ex- assumed national interest during the Victorian era when
amples include the stone-faced bridges along the Taconic many new designs were being built, often using new ma-
State Parkway in New York. terials.

In the United States, the National Bridge Inventory tracks Landscape architecture
the structural evaluations of all bridges, including desig-
nations such as structurally decient and functionally Megaproject
obsolete. Military bridges

7 Bridge monitoring Pontoon bridge

There are several methods used to monitor the stress on Rigid-frame bridge
large structures like bridges. The most common method
is the use of an accelerometer, which is integrated into Transporter bridge
the bridge while it is being built. This technology is used Tensegrity
for long-term surveillance of the bridge.[31]
Another option for structural-integrity monitoring is Trestle bridge
non-contact monitoring, which uses the Doppler eect Tunnel
(Doppler shift). A laser beam from a Laser Doppler Vi-
brometer is directed at the point of interest, and the vi-
bration amplitude and frequency are extracted from the
Doppler shift of the laser beam frequency due to the mo- 10 References
tion of the surface.[32] The advantage of this method is
that the setup time for the equipment is faster and, un- [1] Fowler (1925). The Concise Oxford Dictionary. Oxford
like an accelerometer, this makes measurements possible University Press. p. 102.
on multiple structures in as short a time as possible. Ad- [2] Kutz, Myer (2011). Handbook of Transportation Engi-
ditionally, this method can measure specic points on a neering, Volume II: Applications and Technologies, Sec-
bridge that might be dicult to access. ond Edition. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-

[3] DeLony, Eric (1996). Context for World Heritage

8 Visual index Bridges. Archived from the original on
February 21, 2005.
Further information: List of bridge types and List of
longest bridges in the world [4] History of BRIDGES. Retrieved
January 4, 2012.

[5] Lessons from Roman Cement and Concrete. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
9 See also [6] Dikshitar, V. R. R. Dikshitar (1993). The Mauryan Polity,
Motilal Banarsidass, p. 332 ISBN 81-208-1023-6.
Architectural engineering
[7] Dutt, Romesh Chunder (2000). A History of Civilisation
Bridge chapel in Ancient India: Vol II, Routledge, p. 46, ISBN 0-415-
Bridge tower
[8] suspension bridge in Encyclopdia Britannica (2008).
Bridge to nowhere 2008 Encyclopdia Britannica, Inc.
Bridges Act [9] Nath, R. (1982). History of Mughal Architecture, Abhinav
Publications, p. 213, ISBN 81-7017-159-8.
BS 5400
[10] Iron Bridge. Engineering Timelines. Engineering Time-
BT Centre for Major Programme Management
lines. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
Causeway [11] Sapp, Mark E. (February 22, 2008). Welding Timeline
Coal trestle 19001950. Archived from the
original on August 3, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2008.
Cross-sea trac ways
[12] Beam bridges. Design Technology. Retrieved May 14,
Culvert 2008.

Deck [13] Structural Beam Deection Stress Bending Equations /

Calculation Supported on Both Ends Uniform Loading.
Footbridge Engineers Edge. Retrieved on April 23, 2013.

[14] A big prefabricated bridge. Life. 40 (22): 5360. May 11 Further reading
28, 1956.
Brown, David J. Bridges: Three Thousand Years of
[15] ASCE | Civil What? | Bridges. Re- Defying Nature. Richmond Hill, Ont: Firey Books,
trieved 2017-02-02.
2005. ISBN 1-55407-099-6.
[16] Forensic Examination of a Noncomposite Ad- Sandak, Cass R. Bridges. An Easy-read modern
jacent Precast Prestressed Concrete Box Beam wonders book. New York: F. Watts, 1983. ISBN
Bridge. Journal of Bridge Engineering. 15 (4). 0-531-04624-9.
Whitney, Charles S. Bridges of the World: Their De-
[17] Gorazd Humar (September 2001). World Famous Arch sign and Construction. Mineola, NY: Dover Publi-
Bridges in Slovenia. In Charles Abdunur. Arch'01: cations, 2003. ISBN 0-486-42995-4 (Unabridged
troisime Confrence internationale sur les ponts en arc republication of Bridges : a study in their art, sci-
Paris: (in English and French). Paris: Presses des Ponts. ence, and evolution. 1929.)
pp. 121124. ISBN 2-85978-347-4.

[18] Longest bridge, steel arch bridge. Guinness World

Records. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 12 External links
[19] A.O.P. Guide to Burton-on-Trent, 1911, p.13 Digital Bridge: Bridges of the Nineteenth Century,
a collection of digitized books at Lehigh University
[20] Sigmund, Pete (February 7, 2007). The Mighty Mac:
A Sublime Engineering Feat. Construction Equipment Structurae International Database and Gallery of
Guide. Retrieved May 14, 2008. Engineerings Structures with over 10000 Bridges.
U.S. Federal Highway Administration Bridge Tech-
[21] Johnson, Andy. Cable Stay vs Suspension Bridges. U.S.
Department of Energy.
The Museum of Japanese Timber Bridges Fukuoka
[22] Earliest cable-stayed bridge University

[23] Earliest cable-stayed bridge Archived February 9, 2013,": site for bridges
at the Wayback Machine.

[24] Elder, Miriam (2 July 2012). Russian city of Vladi-

vostok unveils record-breaking suspension bridge. The
Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2016.

[25] Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - George

Washington Bridge. The Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey. Retrieved September 13, 2013.

[26] Bod Woodru; Lana Zak & Stephanie Wash (November

20, 2012). GW Bridge Painters: Dangerous Job on Top
of the Worlds Busiest Bridge. ABC News. Retrieved
September 13, 2013.

[27] Cantilever. Bridges of Dublin.

[28] Suspension Bridges. Made How.

[29] Beam Bridges. PBS.

[30] K, Aggeliki; Stonecypher, Lamar. Truss Bridge De-

signs. Bright Hub Engineering.

[31] The new Minnesota smart bridge (PDF).

Retrieved January 30, 2012.

[32] Basic Principles of Vibrometry. Retrieved

January 25, 2012.

13 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

13.1 Text
Bridge Source: Contributors: Magnus Manske, Vicki Rosenzweig, Stephen Gilbert,
Malcolm Farmer, Rjstott, Trimalchio, Eclecticology, Christian List, Aldie, Ortolan88, William Avery, Heron, Icarus~enwiki, Isis~enwiki,
Olivier, Chuq, Renata, AntonioMartin, Patrick, Mike dill, Michael Hardy, GABaker, Ixfd64, TakuyaMurata, Arpingstone, Kosebamse, Tre-
goweth, Ellywa, Ahoerstemeier, Docu, Kingturtle, , Julesd, Glenn, AugPi, Samw, Steve nova, Raven in Orbit, Korpo~enwiki,
Ideyal, Redjar, Molinari, Zoicon5, Hyacinth, Eadric, Lewisdg2000, Phoebe, Jusjih, Johnleemk, David.Monniaux, Shantavira, Paul W,
Nufy8, Robbot, Dale Arnett, Pigsonthewing, Moriori, RedWolf, Seglea, Postdlf, Yosri, Rfc1394, PedroPVZ, Kneiphof, Halibutt, Smb1001,
Andrew Levine, Sunray, Hadal, Dhodges, Lupo, Cutler, Thomas Maynard, Jpo, Giftlite, DocWatson42, Techelf, Wolfkeeper, Nunh-huh,
Fudoreaper, Tom harrison, Zigger, Mark.murphy, Leonard G., AlistairMcMillan, Solipsist, Grant65, Bobblewik, Kmsiever, Dierk~enwiki,
Wmahan, Timjarrett, Utcursch, Keith Edkins, Fys, Quadell, Antandrus, Beland, Piotrus, Jossi, John Foley, Pethan, Icairns, Sam Hoce-
var, B.d.mills, Sam, Urhixidur, Tsemii, Usrnme h8er, Dcandeto, Sonett72, Kevyn, Zondor, Trevor MacInnis, Canterbury Tail, Andylkl,
Smiller933, Mike Rosoft, D6, Discospinster, Rich Farmbrough, Guanabot, Wk muriithi, Colin Angus Mackay, Kostja, Notinasnaid, Mjpi-
eters, Mani1, SpookyMulder, ESkog, Flapdragon, Helldjinn~enwiki, El C, Mulder1982, Joanjoc~enwiki, Aude, Sietse Snel, RoyBoy,
Cacophony, Nrbelex, CeeGee, Adambro, Webgeer, Bobo192, TomStar81, Fir0002, Meggar, Halfsnail, Billymac00, Smalljim, Redlentil,
Grotte, Duk, KLUMSY bOT, Man vyi, Juntas, Caeruleancentaur, Hagerman, Nsaa, Ruby Queen, Ranveig, Red Winged Duck, Alansohn,
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PANONIAN, Velho, Scriberius, A.K.A.47, Bkkbrad, Ekem, John Cardinal, Before My Ken, AshishG, Tabletop, Kelisi, John Hill, Way-
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