Everything You Want To Know About Planning, Designing and Building Bridges

Bridges fall under civil construction projects designed to make people's lives easier. In some isolated cases, you can build a bridge within private properties to ease the movement of people in places like recreational facilities. Constructing bridges is a massive project that requires meticulous planning and expertise, with a consulting engineer involved every step of the way. You must start by preparing the project's initial plans by listing the characteristics of the bridge, its purpose and details of the site. Furthermore, you must decide on the specific type of bridge that will suit your project's objectives. Keep reading to understand everything you need to know about building bridges:

Types of Bridges

Engineers can help you design and build different bridges to meet specific usage and technical needs. Some of the popular types include arch, cantilever, and suspension bridges.

Arch bridge 

As the name suggests, arch bridges feature a distinctive curved shape with an arch projecting over the middle section. They effectively use gravity and the force of the load to hold the bridge up rather than send it crashing down.

Cantilever bridge

The cantilever bridge comes with pillars anchoring vertically over the ground to support a large deck extending horizontally from either side. Trusses also come in to offer additional support and ensure maximum strength.

Suspension bridge 

A suspension bridge makes a spectacular view with pylons and vertical pillars providing much-needed support. Engineers then introduce suspension cables to link the pylons and the vertical pillars.

The Bridge's Foundation

Building a good foundation sets the tone of the quality of the bridge that you intend to build. A reliable foundation ensures that the bridge meets all your load-bearing capacity, tenacity, and durability expectations. Usually, building the foundation commences with geotechnical evaluation to determine the soil's suitability to hold up the bridge. Details of the soil's profile will help you determine the right foundation type for your bridge. For instance, a weak soil profile will necessitate a pile foundation with the piles providing support deep from the ground.  

Testing Bridges

Bridge construction is expensive, and engineers prefer to carry out many tests before construction commences. Often, the objective of the tests is to reveal the bridge's behavior under various dynamic loads. Engineers used computer-aided design and other testing tools to develop the right design. 

Wind tunnels also come in handy at this testing stage. Fast-moving air is blown through the bridge to pinpoint structural defects arising from strong winds.