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8 Meaningful Pros and Cons of Arch Bridges

navajocodetalkersadmin on July 8, 2015 - 5:34 pm in Pros and Cons

An arch bridge is a type of bridge that has been used all through out history. The unique design and versatility of it’s uses have made it a staple in bridge design for as long as we can see. It is set up with two abutments that act as base points for all of the pressure that is put on the bridge, making it very strong and flexible. However, no matter how fantastic the design of arch bridges are, there are some issues that cannot be avoided. Let’s take a closer look at the good and bad benefits of arch bridges.

The Pros of Arch Bridges

1. Make It Out of Just About Anything
There are not many limitations when it comes to what an arch bridge can be constructed of. A wide variety of natural materials, such as wood, can be used efficiently. Man made materials can also be utilized in the construction of arch bridges, some of these may include steel or concrete.

2. Under Pressure
By using arches in the design of the bridge, the pressure and weight of anything crossing the bridge is able to go straight down, rather than disperse across the entire bridge. This is done to ensure that no single part of the bridge takes on too much pressure.

3. No Distortions
The half circle shape is done to make sure that no distortions or damages occur to the bridge due to an excessive amount of weight or pressure. This is a very beneficial quality because it cuts down the costs that are needed to maintain the bridge.

4. Better With Time
Arch bridges become progressively stronger the more they are used. This happens because all of the materials slowly become more and more compacted together. When the materials become denser, the bridge’s strength is increased.

The Cons of Arch Bridges

1. It’s A Tough Job
Time is the biggest problem when it comes to arch bridges. The structure has to be meticulously designed. It is also very time and labor intensive when it comes to the construction process.

2. Repairs Are Still Necessary
While the maintenance required for an arch bridge is minimal, it still must be done. Materials need to be reinforced and repaired on a regular basis, especially if the materials that are used are natural ones. Things like rain, storms, and wind can all cause corrosion and damage to an arch bridge.

3. Length Is An Issue
Bridges are generally needed to make impassable areas, passable. This may include going over a small river or lake, or even over a canyon. With an arch bridge, the length restrictions are it’s biggest downfall. These types of bridges cannot span as large an area as many other types of bridges, making it unsuitable for many bridge jobs.

4. Costs
The sheer amount of materials that are needed can really begin to add up with the construction of an arch bridge. Along with the materials that are needed, an incredible amount of time and labor is also required for the bridge to be built. The design process also involves a hefty team of architects and engineers.

Important Facts About Arch Bridges

  • The first people to use arch bridges in their civilizations where the Ancient Romans.
  • A couple variations of the arch bridge are the deck, through, and tied bridge designs.
  • The Yangtze River in China is home to the world’s longest arch bridge, which is an impressive 1800 feet long.
  • Dubai has plans to build a record shattering, 3,000 foot arch bridge in the near future.
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