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15 Goliath Steel Bridges

23 February 2011 3 Comments

Steel is one of the top materials that have been utilised to build different structures all over the world. It has a lot of advantages in terms of construction strength and ductility. Bridges are one of the structures that are often made of steel, as steel offers a higher level of strength and tension when compared with other building materials such as concrete.

Combine that with the main purpose of bridges which is to connect land, people, societies and economies, you will be able to create a world that is interconnected to become strong and united as one.

1. Golden Gate Suspension Bridge – San Francisco, USA

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1. Golden Gate Suspension Bridge – San Francisco, USA

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The decision on whether to build the San Francisco Golden Gate Suspension Bridge in California, USA was a public decision. On November 4, 1930, there was a consensus among the people of San Francisco to build the bridge, a project that can change the entire city.

On January 5, 1933, the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge started. It was a colossal project at that time as the bridge is at 4200 feet with back towers that measure 746 feet. It was designed by Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss. It is a hybrid cantilever and suspension bridge. It was opened for public use on May 28, 1938.

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2. Pont de Normadie (Le Havre – Honfleur, France)

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This astonishing bridge used to be the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, a record that eventually was lost in 1999, four years after its official opening. The Pont de Normandie has a total length of 2.143 meters (7,032 ft) and the construction of such an ambitious project took more than 7 years. The bridge has a designer, Michel Virlogeux, and two architects: François Doyelle and Charles Lavigne.

More than $465 million were invested in Pont de Normandie, thus creating one of the grandest structures ever built by man along the river of Seine.

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3. Brooklyn Bridge – USA

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8. Brooklyn Bridge – USA

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Brooklyn Bridge in the United States of America is one of the iconic bridges of the country. It was the product of the great minds that wanted to connect Brooklyn and Manhattan in 1800s. it stands over the East River and was the key to bringing urbanization from New York to Brooklyn.

Work started in January 3, 1870 and it was opened to the public in May 23, 1883. It costs $15.1 million to build which is twice as much as the proposed budget for its construction. It is now considered as a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the US Government and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

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4. George Washington Suspension Bridge – USA

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The George Washington Suspension Bridge is a pioneer in many technologies that are used in suspension bridges. It has flexible steel towers, cable spinning process to lay cables that are 3 feet in diameter that  make up the deck of the bridge.

It was constructed in just four years and was opened for public use on October 25, 1931. It was one of the many challenges in bridge making and the designer Othmar Ammann made everything a reality. Expansion was also the key in designing the bridge. In 1942 it was further expanded as well as in 1962.

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5. Rion-Antirrio (Greece)

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Officially named Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge, after a Greek prime minister of the 19th century that actually suggested the idea of building a bridge here, the Rion-Antirrio bridge is currently the world’s longest multi-span cable-stayed bridge. The bridge carries 6 lanes, a pedestrian lane and a bycicle lane on 2.880 meters (9,448 ft).

It was designed by Berdj Mikaelian and constructed by a French-Greek consortium for €630 million. Due to the lose sediment of the seabed and the seismic activity, the piers were not buried in the sand like it usually happens when building a bridge. Instead, the piers rest on a leveled bed of gravel, so that they could move laterally during an earthquake. This unique feature was one of the main reasons why the constructors decided to implement a 24/7 health monitoring system that helps protecting the main structure of the bridge.

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6. SkyBridge (Vancouver, Canada)

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The SkyBridge spans over the Fraser River, connecting two important cities in the metropolitan area of Vancouver: New Westminster and Surrey. Construction took two years, from 1987 to 1989, but the bridge started being used several months later, in March 1990. That is because the bridge is a transit-only route used by TransLink, carrying three tracks, of which only two are used to transport passengers.

The total length of the structure reaches 616 m (2,020 ft), while the two towers are 123 m (404 ft) high. SkyBridge is part of the track that connects the King George Station (Surrey) and Waterfront Station (Downtown).

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7. Sydney Harbour Bridge – Sydney, Australia

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The Sydney Harbour Bridge is settled on the Sydney Harbour and this bridge lets vehicles, bicycles and other pedestrian and rail traffic through. It connects the Sydney Central Business District and the North Shore. It is regarded as a steel through arch bridge which provides a dramatic view in the Sydney Harbour. It is called the coat hanger because of the design which is an arch shape.

It was designed by Dorman Long and Co. Ltd and opened in 1932. It is branded as the world’s widest long span bridge and the world’s tallest steel arch bridge at 134 meters.

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8. Eitaibashi Bridge – Japan

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The Eitaibashi Bridge is named as such as it is regarded as a “long reign bridge” in Tokyo. It spans along the Sumida River which is very close to the Tokyo Bay. In 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake in Tokyo struck and most of the bridges in Tokyo collapsed. The Eitaibashi Bridge is one of the many bridges that were constructed in lieu of the earthquake.

State of the art technology was used to build this bridge such as the high tensile steel which is supposedly earthquake proof. It is one of the most elegant suspension bridges around the world.

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9. Garabit Viaduct – St. Flour, France

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The Garabit Viaduct in St. Flour in Auvergne, France is the largest and highest railway arch bridge in the world back in 1884. It was designed and built by one of the most famous designers of all time, Gustav Eiffel. It is one of the projects that he has made before he even made his equally famous Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The bridge is at 406 feet above the Truyere river with a span of 540 feet. This bridge became famous as it was featured in the film The Cassandra Crossing in 1976.

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10. Hangang Bridge – Seoul, Korea

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The Hangang Bridge can be found in the Han River that runs along South Korea. It is the bridge that is able to connect the two districts of South Korea: Yongsan-gu and Dongjak-gu. The Hangang Bridge in Seoul, Korea was built in October 1917 and was considered as the first bridge that was built on the Han River in Seoul. However, disaster struck in the form of a flood in July 1925 and the bridge was severely damaged by the raging waters.

The second Hangang Bridge was built in October 1935 and was constructed with significant improvements. However, the bridge was bombed during the Korean War. In 1954, the bridge was fully restored.

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11. Forth Bridge – Firth of Forth, Scotland

12. Forth Bridge – Firth of Forth, Scotland

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The Forth Bridge in the Firth of Forth, Scotland is considered as a cantilever bridge that was opened to the public in March 4, 1890. It spans 2528.7 meters and connects Edinburgh and Fife. It is one of the major landmarks in Scotland and is often referred to as the Forth Rail Bridge.

The designer Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker have created one of the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO in Scotland. It was considered as the longest cantilever bridge in the world until 1917. It is currently maintained by Balfour Beatty under Network Rail.

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12. Kymijoki Railway Bridge – Koria, Finland

9. Kymijoki Railway Bridge – Koria, Finland

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The Kymijoki Railway Bridge in Koria, Finland was built in 1870, an era when steel was becoming a popular choice in construction material for urban structures. For the Finnish, the Kymijoki Railway Bridge in Koria, Finland is considered as the first ever three span steel truss bridge in the country.

It was a milestone for them as they set a very important time in their civil engineering history. It was originally used as a railway until in 1923 it was converted to be used by regular vehicles. As of today, it is just used as a footbridge.

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13. Menangle Viaduct – New South Wales, Australia

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The Menangle Viaduct in New South Wales in Australia is considered as the oldest existing railway bridge in the country. It is one of the first few bridges that was constructed using steel during that time.

It was built in 1863 a time that was considered to be a golden age in steel construction. The Menangle Bridge in New South Wales in Australia consists of two wrought iron riveted box girders with a span of 49.4 meters. However the original span was halved to be able to allow heavier loads to pass through the bridge at any time.

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14. Weichsel Bridge – Dirscham, East Prussia

11. Weichsel Bridge – Dirscham, East Prussia

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Dirscham in East Prussia has one of the first contributions in the world of steel bridges. The Weichsel Bridge is considered to be an icon of steel bridges during its construction in the golden age of steel structures. Civil engineering was never the same without the Weichsel Bridge because it was the first large wrought iron girder bridge that was built in Germany.

The country was so proud of the bridge as it was considered a railway bridge that was unique in its design and material. The year 1857 was a great time in Germany as they were able to produce this magnificent work of engineering.

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15. Tenryugawa Bridge – Japan

6. Tenryugawa Bridge – Japan

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The Tenryugawa Bridge in Japan was built in 1888 and was considered to be one of the first steel bridges at that time. It was the first railway bridge ever built for Japan and was also the first bridge that was built using steel. It was a feat for the Japanese to build this bridge but they all took pride in how beautiful the structure is.

Steel has been a popular choice for building bridges in other countries and having a steel bridge of their own over which trains can pass provided a very important milestone for the Japanese during that time.

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3 Comments »

  • bob jones said:

    Really disappointed the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, WV wasn’t posted…

  • staceface said:

    Cool collection. However, the photos of the Forth Bridge in Scotland are of the road bridge, not the rail bridge.

    The rail bridge runs parallel to the road bridge across the Firth of Forth, a mile or two apart from each other.

  • Stuart said:

    The pictures show the Forth Road Bridge, which was opened in 1964, not he Forth Rail Bridge

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