Suspension bridges in their simplest form were originally made from rope and wood. Modern suspension bridges use a box section roadway supported by high tensile strength cables. In the early nineteenth century, suspension bridges used iron chains for cables. The high tensile cables used in most modern suspension bridges were introduced in the late nineteenth century.
Today, the cables are made of thousands of individual steel wires bound tightly together. Steel, which is very strong under tension, is an ideal material for cables; a single steel wire, only 0.1 inch thick, can support over half a ton without breaking. Light, and strong, suspension bridges can span distances from 2,000 to 7,000 feet far longer than any other kind of bridge. They are ideal for covering busy waterways.
With any bridge project the choice of materials and form usually comes down to cost. Suspension bridges tend to be the most expensive to build. A suspension bridge suspends the roadway from huge main cables, which extend from one end of the bridge to the other. These cables rest on top of high towers and have to be securely anchored into the bank at either end of the bridge.The towers enable the main cables to be draped over long distances. Most of the weight or load of the bridge is transferred by the cables to the anchorage systems. These are imbedded in either solid rock or huge concrete blocks. Inside the anchorages, the cables are spread over a large area to evenly distribute the load and to prevent the cables from breaking free.
A. Advantages and Disadvantages of a Suspension Bridge
A.a Advantages of a Suspension Bridge
The center span may be made very long in proportion to the amount of materials required, allowing the bridge to economically span a very wide canyon or waterway. It can be built high over water...