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History of Concrete Bridges

No-one knows how the bridge concept really began but early man would have used fallen trees, stepping stones and other naturally occurring materials to cross geographical barriers. Some of the earliest surviving bridges date from around the second Century BC. Typically, they were stone arches, a form that dominated bridge construction until the arrival of wrought iron and steel in the early 18th Century and, 150 years later, concrete. Most bridges were built by the church and two Renaissance stone bridges can still be seen in Paris - the Pont Notre Dame (1305) and the Pont Neuf (1606). It was in the 18th Century that bridge design began to develop into a science, led by an engineering school founded in Paris. Its director, Jean Perronet, perfected the masonry arch, with its low sweeping curve and slender piers. Soon afterwards, attention switched to England where the invention of the steam locomotive called for stronger bridges. In 1794, iron was first used for the chain cables of a suspension bridge over the River Tees and 1779 saw the first all-iron bridge over the Severn at Coalbrookdale. This arch bridge, spanning 100ft, is still in service. Just when the masonry arch bridge was reaching its peak around the beginning of the 20th Century, reinforced concrete arrived on the scene. Since then, it has become the major construction material for bridges as it has for most structural and civil engineering applications, with its intrinsic versatility, design flexibility and, above all, natural durability. Although several British engineers had been using concrete early in the 19th Century, its use in British bridges did not develop until the latter half of the 20th Century. It is estimated that at least 75% of the Highways Agency concrete bridge stock has been built since 1960. In contrast, concrete arches were being buit in continental Europe as far back as the 1850s by Gariel, Coignet and then Monier. The earliest known example of a mass concrete bridge in the UK, using lime concrete, was on the District Line, near Cromwell Road, West London, designed by Thomas Marr Johnson for Sir John Fowler and built c.1865. Other British engineers began to use plain concrete for bridge superstructures, notably Philip Brannan, who erected a threespan concrete arch, including a 50ft middle span, at Seaton in Devon in 1877. Railway engineers were also active at this time, using plain concrete on the Dochart Viaduct, with the London and South Western Railway and the West Highland Railway using mass concrete towards the end of the century. Plain concrete was used on the Carrington Viaduct (1903) and the first reinforced concrete railway bridges were those designed by Mouchel (Bristol, 1907) and Coignet (Bargoed, Wales). The first British reinfotced concrete railway bridge was the 28ft. span structure built in Dundee, Scotland in 1903. By the 1930's there was a significant increase in the use of reinforced concrete.

The use of reinforced concrete probably started with the Homersfield Bridge over the River Waveney on the Norfolk/Suffolk border in 1870, when iron was embedded in concrete, but it was not until the first decade of the 20th Century that reinforcement, as we know it today, was introduced. This was due almost entirely to L.G. Mouchel, the UK agents for the Hennebique system. The first project in the UK was an 18ft span bridge at Chewton Glen in Hampshire in 1902, followed two years later by a 40ft span beam and slab bridge at Sutton Drain in Hull. Other systems followed including Monier (Copnor footbridge, 1902); Kahn (Lucker, Northumberland, 1906); Considere (Great Eastern Railway, Tottenham, 1908) and Coignet (Metropolitan Railway, Kings Cross). These pioneers created the platform for local authority designs, notably in Somerset and Devon. By 1930 there were about 2000 reinforced concrete bridges in UK and notable designers such as Sir Owen Williams emerged between the two World Wars e.g. Montrose (1930). Other major bridges of this period were the Royal Tweed Bridge, Berwick (Mouchel); Chiswick and Twickenham River Thames Bridges (Considere); King George V Bridge, Glasgow and, possibly the best of the period, Waterloo Bridge, London (RPT, 1938-42). It is uncertain when precast concrete was introduced but early applications revolved around railway footbridges, with Southern Region leading the way at Oxshott, Surrey (1908) and Exeter (1923). An outstanding precast structure of the time was at Mizen Head, Cork (1908), an arch with a 172ft span. The outstanding feature of concrete bridges both during and after the Second World War was the advent of prestressed concrete, used to rebuild the many bridges that had been destroyed, especially on the Continent. By 1950, bridges by Freyssinet and Magnel had been built, using precast segments joined by concrete or mortar; Finsterwalder had constructed the first in-situ box girder bridge using cantilever construction and in the 1960s, the first incrementally launched bridge was built in Germany. In the UK, a stock of emergency prestressed concrete beams was held during the War and used afterwards in permanent bridgeworks. They were designed by Dr. Mautner of the Prestressed Concrete Company, a subsidiary of Mouchel licensed by Freyssinet. This partnership was responsible for Nunn's Bridge, Fishtoft near Boston (1948), the first insitu prestressed concrete road bridge. Other early examples were the Adam Viaduct near Wigan (1943) and the Rhinefield Bridge in Hampshire. The main prestressing systems in use at this time were Freyssinet, Hoyer and Lee-McCall. The first major prestressed concrete road bridge was the replacement for Northam Bridge, Southampton (1954). Larger and larger bridges were built using prestressed concrete including Cavendish (1956), Clifton, Nottingham (1958) and Bridstow, near Ross-on-Wye (1960), all cantilevered, suspended span bridges using precast beams. Reinforced concrete was still being used in the 1950s for larger bridges, especially arches, notably Lune Bridge carrying the M6, but by the end of the 1960s, prestressed concrete had largely superseded reinforced concrete with box girders being the dominant structural form.

Expansion of the motorway network demanded large numbers of concrete bridges, a functional and cost-effective solution to society's needs. The main emphasis on bridge design became economy and durability rather than style. This inspired any number of developments and construction techniques, mainly involving precast segmental construction (Hammersmith Flyover, 1961); resin joints (Rawcliffe, Yorkshire 1968); match casting (Byker, Newcastle 1979); incrementally launched bridges, the first example in UK being the Shepherds House Rail Bridge near Reading in 1977; cablestayed, typified by Lyne Bridge in Surrey, one of the first examples in the world. The durability of concrete has also been recognised by its significant use on major estuarial crossings such as the Humber, Medway and Severn. Design and construction techniques continue to evolve to satisfy the increasing demands of the UK transport network e.g. integral bridges.

A concrete bridge is a structure made from concrete and built for the purpose of covering a certain distance. Typically, concrete bridges allow vehicles or people to cross over physical obstructions, such as lakes, rivers, valleys, or roads. Concrete is one of the most common types of materials used in modern-day bridge construction. Suggest Edits Building a bridge out of concrete can have many advantages. Generally, concrete is a highly versatile substance because it can withstand a wide variety of climates. It can be mixed in a way that gives it the ability to resist extreme temperature fluctuations as well as corrosive chemicals. As a result, a concrete bridge functions well in most regions of the world. Concrete is also a flexible material, allowing an engineer to be creative when planning the aesthetic attributes of a concrete bridge design project. Concrete is typically more durable than other types of materials, such as steel or timber. In fact, some types of concrete can last for up to 100 years. Because of this, concrete bridges are often lower maintenance than other kinds of bridges with fewer overall upkeep costs. The cost of initial construction is also frequently lower with concrete than with other types of materials. Ads by Google

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A prestressed concrete bridge is a type of concrete bridge that has gained popularity since the late 1940s. It is particularly useful in lengthening a bridges span capability. Essentially, prestressed concrete is designed to counteract limitations associated with creating tension in concrete. Prestressed concrete bridges typically contain reinforcement bars made out of substances like steel cables or rods that are fitted inside the poured concrete. These bars help counteract stress that the bridge would otherwise realize. Concrete is one of the most widely-used materials in current arch bridge design. A concrete arch bridge consists of a structure with a curved arch, which serves as the main support mechanism. In addition, an arch bridge usually contains two abutments, which are placed at each end of the curved arch. Contemporary concrete arch bridges are usually constructed from reinforced concrete, which contains steel reinforcement bars. A specialized type of concrete, known as high-performance concrete, can be used when constructing a concrete bridge. High-performance concrete is designed to exceed the performance of regular concrete. It ordinarily has a water-cement material ratio of about 0.40 or less, although this number can vary depending on the type of bridge being built. The location for the bridge also influences highperformance concrete mix proportions because temperature and other factors require changing the water-cement ratio.

A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water,valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle. There are many different designs that all serve unique purposes and apply to different situations. Designs of bridges

vary depending on the function of the bridge, the nature of the terrainwhere the bridge is constructed and anchored, the material used to make it, and the funds available to build it

History[edit source | editbeta]

The first bridges were made by nature itself as simple as a log fallen across a stream or stones in the river. The first 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 caverns or wells to get from one place to another. A common form of lashing sticks, logs, and deciduous branches together involved the use of long reeds or other harvested fibers woven together to form a connective rope capable of binding and holding together the materials used in early bridges.

The Arkadiko Bridge in Greece (13th century BC), one of the oldest arch bridgesin existence

The Arkadiko Bridge is one of four Mycenaeancorbel arch bridges part of a former network of roads, designed to accommodate chariots, between Tiryns to Epidauros in thePeloponnese, in Greece. Dating to the GreekBronze Age (13th century BC), it is one of the oldest arch bridges still in existence and use. Several intact arched stone bridges from theHellenistic era can be found in the Peloponnesein southern Greece[3] The greatest bridge builders of antiquity were the ancient Romans.[4] The Romans built arch bridges and aqueducts that could stand in conditions that would damage or destroy earlier designs. Some stand today.[5] An example is the Alcntara Bridge, built over the river Tagus, in Spain. The Romans also used cement, which reduced the variation of strength found in natural stone.[6] One type of cement, called pozzolana, consisted of water, lime, sand, and volcanic rock. Brick and mortar bridges were built after the Roman era, as the technology for cement was lost then later rediscovered. The Arthashastra of Kautilya mentions the construction of dams and bridges.[7] A Mauryanbridge near Girnar was surveyed by James Princep.[8] The bridge was

swept away during a flood, and later repaired by Puspagupta, the chief architect of emperor Chandragupta I.[8]The bridge also fell under the care of the Yavana Tushaspa, and the Satrap Rudra Daman.[8] The use of stronger bridges using plaited bamboo and iron chain was visible in India by about the 4th century.[9] A number of bridges, both for military and commercial purposes, were constructed by the Mughal administration in India.[10] Although large Chinese bridges of wooden construction existed at the time of the Warring States, the oldest surviving stone bridge in China is the Zhaozhou Bridge, built from 595 to 605 AD during the Sui Dynasty. This bridge is also historically significant as it is the world's oldest open-spandrel stone segmental arch bridge. European segmental arch bridges date back to at least the Alcontar Bridge (approximately 2nd century AD), while the enormous Roman era Trajan's Bridge (105 AD) featured open-spandrel segmental arches in wooden construction. Rope bridges, a simple type of suspension bridge, were used by the Inca civilization in theAndes mountains of South America, just prior to European colonization in the 16th century. During the 18th century there were many innovations in the design of timber bridges byHans Ulrich, Johannes Grubenmann, and others. The first book on bridge engineering was written by Hubert Gautier in 1716. A major breakthrough in bridge technology came with the erection of the Iron Bridge in Coalbrookdale, England in 1779. It used cast iron for the first time as arches to cross the river Severn. With the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, truss systems of wrought iron were developed for larger bridges, but iron did not have the tensile strength to support large loads. With the advent of steel, which has a high tensile strength, much larger bridges were built, many using the ideas of Gustave Eiffel. In 1927 welding pioneer Stefan Brya designed the first welded road bridge in the world, which was later built across the river Sudwia Maurzyce near owicz, Poland in 1929. In 1995, the American Welding Society presented the Historic Welded Structure Award for the bridge to Poland.[11]