Inherently Limited But Pretty

That lovely bridge has the lovely name “Strawberry Mansion Bridge,” after a historic house nearby. The bridge spans the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, at Fairmont Park; the mansion is within the modern park. The bridge is a steel deck-arch, where the traffic passes entirely over the arches. This is a modern interpretation of the type …

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Going Maybe Too Far

This bridge, opened in 1897 and replaced in 1923, has an appealing name: it was the Free Bridge, carrying Little Rock’s Main Street across the Arkansas River. The name was descriptive of a crossing rather than inspirational: the purpose of the bridge was to provide free crossings. It was replaced, as was so common in …

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Ordinary, Once

Now, plate-girder highway bridges are so common that we don’t even think to comment on them They are simply part of the background of our lives. Truss bridges used to occupy that position. I took the picture above of the 1904 New Hope–Lambertville Bridge in 2015. It’s a six-span through Pratt truss, carrying a local …

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Low-Key Beauty

That’s a five-span lattice through truss carrying two railroad tracks. It’s got a less spectacular setting than a lot of the structures I’ve talked about, and the longest span is only 150 feet, so it’s much closer to “completely ordinary” than it is to “record breaker”, but honesty, who cares? People talk about structural beauty …

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Technology Transfer

The close-up above shows a critical element in the development of skyscrapers and, non-coincidently, one of the reasons I keep talking about late 1800s truss bridges. Tall buildings were largely responsible for the creation of my profession, structural engineering for buildings. Prior to the the construction of large numbers of tall buildings in the 1880s …

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