The Evolution of Bridge

The bridge is used to provide a way over an obstacle, such as water, valley or road. Its size differs according to its destination, it can be used to cross a river or even from one city to another. In some cases, it may symbolize an important point in your life. According to Freud, a bridge may symbolize any sort of transition in the dreamer’s life, for example, moving to a foreign country, changing from a job to another, etc. In this article, we are going to focus about the physical-real-life bridge. Let us see how bridges have evolved throughout the human history and how ancient bridges show us that structure theory is not the only vital factor in the realization of building construction.

We can divide the evolution of bridge technology into 2 eras :

1. The Arch Era

The Arch Era goes from 2000 BC until the end if the 18th century. Arc bridges were well developed by the  Romans and were for the majority stone arches. The Viaduct in Segovia, for example, is over 2000 years old and is still intact until today.

Roman Viaduct in Segovia

We can also find another example of ancient stone bridge in China. The elegant Zhao Zhou Bridge were built around 600 AD and can still be used until today.

Zhao Zhou Bridge

Another famous ancient bridge still in use today is the Siosepol Bridge in Iran, built during the Safavid Dynasty (around 16th Century).

Siosepol Bridge

These bridges were built before the appearance of structural theory. The ancestors of engineer didn’t use theory to guide their design. The type of  bridge structure they used (still used until today) was intuitive and their construction materials were readily available in nature. Stone arches have a very wonderful structures and  blend very well into the natural landscape.

2. The Contemporary Era

This modern era goes from the 19th Century until today. The construction of bridge changed after the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century, with the introduction of steel.

One of the most spectacular early bridge is the Firth of Fourth Bridge in London, built during the end of the 19th Century. Some may not be fond of its structures but it has been successfully serving its objective until now.


Firth of Fourth Bridge

Other steel bridges were built around the same time in the United States, such as, the St. Louis Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge

The improvement of wire technology with steel allowed  long span suspension bridges possible. Research in aerodynamics offered a way to design bridges with wind resistant. Some early examples of this type of bridge are the Golden Gate Bridge and the George Washington Bridge. One of the longest one today is the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge.


Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

Another type of Contemporary Era bridge is the cable-stayed bridge. Attempts were not successful before high strength steel was available. Since 1970, many long cable-stayed bridge were completed around the world, such as The Stromsund Bridge in Sweden and the Normandy Bridge in France. One of the newest is the Stonecutters Bridge in Hong Kong, completed in 2009.


Stonecutters Bridge

As we can see from these examples, the availability of construction materials is a dominant factor in the evolution of bridge (stone, steel,…). Bridges are one of the most important infrastructure program in China. Shanghai Metal Corporation supply various steel bridges & steel bridge materials. Check our website if you’re interested other construction materials. You can also send us your inquiry, we have English-speaking that will help you to find the best product for you. Don’t forget to follow us on social media and download an application by scanning QR code below.

Read this article for a more detailed information about the evolution of bridge technology.

SMC QR

    

Pictures from Google image.

Ayu P.//SMC editor

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Shanghai Metal Corporation

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