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The Pros and Cons of Truss Bridges

navajocodetalkersadmin on May 26, 2015 - 7:52 pm in Pros and Cons

There are many different types of bridge designs, each having it’s own unique strengths and weaknesses. Truss is one of these, and is possible the most commonly used. It is formed by many different beams that come together to form triangles in order to support the bridge way. While it is very strong and has tremendous load capabilities, there are also a number of drawbacks associated with the truss bridge design. In order to better understand how effective these bridges are, it’s best to take an in depth look at the pros and cons associated with them.

The Pros of Truss Bridges

1. High Strength
The triangular shape that the supports are place in give it a great amount of strength. This gives it the ability to carry heavy traffic loads, making it ideal for dense population areas.

2. No Span Restrictions
One of the most appealing properties of a truss bridge is that it can be built over very long as well as very short distances. This makes it available to be built just about anywhere with little problems.

3. Road Placement
The truss bridge is one of the only types of bridges that allows for the road to be placed on top of it, rather than built into it. This makes it very easy to construct and integrate into existing construction process.

4. Relatively Economical
There are very minimal amounts of materials needed to build a truss bridge, and each piece is used very efficiently. The amount of waste is small, and in combination, cheap and light materials are often used.

The Cons of Truss Bridges

1. Large Amount of Maintenance Required
Very close and involved maintenance of all of the various components of the bridge are necessary with truss bridges. Each part plays an integral role in the integrity and safety of the bridge, requiring close monitoring.

2. Difficult Design To Execute
Precise and often complicated designing is involved in building a truss bridge that is appropriate for the area it needs to cover. The perfect sizing, spacing, and proportions have to be considered.

3. Heavy Weight
The overall weight of the structure can be very heavy. This poses problems when it needs to be built in areas without much support. Often times, additional support beams are necessary.

4. Low Weight Capacities
Truss bridges where first built with light weight vehicles in mind. With the heavy duty vehicles that are common in today’s world, they cannot with hold as much traffic as they where originally intended.

5. Material Waste Possibilities
One of the biggest risks of building a truss bridge is having a mishap with construction or design. The specifications for the bridge have to be perfect in order for it to work the way it is supposed to. If any of this is off at all, then a large amount of materials can go to waste. This is because of how much is needed for only a small portion of the bridge.

6. Space Taker
The support that truss bridges require can take up quite a bit of space. The construction of these bridges could effect surrounding areas and the water beneath it.

7. Not The Best Option
When it first came to conception, the truss bridge was a perfect solution to many limits in construction and materials. Since then, however, many that have been built have been reevaluated and replaced with more efficient and structurally sound types of bridges.

Important Facts About Truss Bridges

  • The Sydney Harbour truss bridge is the most famous in the world.
  • Most of the older truss bridges that have been built around the world have since been replaced with newer and more efficient designs.
  • The Bailey, Bowstring, and Howe are just a few of the many different variations of truss bridge designs.
  • Truss bridges where first designed due to manufacturing limitations in the early 20th century.
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