3 Things You Might Not Know About Arch Bridges

Arch Bridges have stood the test of time

Every day millions of Americans cross bridges on their commute, usually without giving a second thought. Some of these bridges are designed in a classical way which has existed for millennia. The arch bridge, which uses its shape to push force outward to the end supports rather than downward, was first built by Romans around 1000 B.C. Most of these bridges, being built of stone and wood, could not span very far but were extremely stable. It is estimated that 1000 arch bridges were built by the Roman Empire in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Many of these bridges still stand today.

The arch bridge can be beautiful

Arch bridges can be designed in many different ways with beautiful arches, facades, and decks. Beautiful bridges can be both old or modern. One of the most famous of these is Ponte Di Rialto located in Venice (pictured below). Construction on the bridge began in 1588 and it draws a lot of attention (nearly 70,000 google reviews). The bridge is the oldest of the four that cross the grand canal.

Modern arch bridges can also be gorgeous. Pictured below is the Perkins bridge located in Belfast, Maine. Built-in 2010, it spans a small stream fed by a dam overflow. The 47-foot bridge features 16 smaller arches supports made of carbon fiber, the first of its kind. We think this is beautiful but we may be slightly biased since we designed it.

Arch bridges can be environmentally friendly

I bet you never thought a bridge could be environmentally friendly. Bridge engineers have been working to create designs that have a low carbon impact and last a long time before being replaced. In some cases, engineers have even used bridges to protect ecological areas or generate power. Modern bridges, such as the ones we design, do not use steel rebar or supports. The use of fiberglass and carbon fiber eliminates rust seeping into the streams and rivers bridges often cross. Shown below is the Solar Powered Kurilpa Bridge in Brisbane, Australia. Besides being the worlds longest foot bridge at nearly 500 meters, it is equipped with solar panels that light the walkway and can even add power back to the city grid when there is an excess.