1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bridges/History 2

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History (2)[edit]

9. (d) Iron and Steel Girder Bridges.—The main supporting members are two or more horizontal beams, girders or trusses. The girders carry a floor or platform either on top (deck bridges) or near the bottom (through bridges). The platform is variously constructed. For railway bridges it commonly consists of cross girders, attached to or resting on the main girders, and longitudinal rail girders or stringers carried by the cross girders and directly supporting the sleepers and rails. For spans over 75 ft., expansion due to change of temperature is provided for by carrying one end of each chain girder on rollers placed between the bearing-plate on the girder and the bed-plate on the pier or abutment.

Fig. 14 shows the roller bed of a girder of the Kuilenburg bridge of 490 ft. span. It will be seen that the girder directly rests on a cylindrical pin or rocker so placed as to distribute the load uniformly to all the rollers. The pressure on the rollers is limited to about p = 600 d in lb per in. length of roller, where d is the diameter of the roller in inches.

FIG. 14.—Roller Bed of a Girder.

In the girders of bridges the horizontal girder is almost exclusively subjected to vertical loading forces. Investigation of the internal stresses, which balance the external forces, shows that most of the material should be arranged in a top flange, boom or chord, subjected to compression, and a bottom flange or chord, subjected to tension. (See STRENGTH OF MATERIALS.) Connecting the flanges is a vertical web which may be a solid plate or a system of bracing bars. In any case, though the exact form of cross section of girders varies very much, it is virtually an I section (fig. 15). The function of the flanges is to resist a horizontal tension and compression distributed practically uniformly on their cross sections. The web resists forces equivalent to a shear on vertical and horizontal planes. The inclined tensions and compressions in the bars of a braced web are equivalent to this shear. The horizontal stresses in the flanges are greatest at the centre of a span. The stresses in the web are greatest at the ends of the span. In the most numerous cases the flanges or chords are parallel. But girders may have curved chords and then the stresses in the web are diminished.

FIG. 15.—Flanged Girder.

At first girders had solid or plate webs, but for spans over 100 ft. the web always now consists of bracing bars. In some girder bridges the members are connected entirely by riveting, in others the principal members are connected by pin joints. The pin system of connexion used in the Chepstow, Saltash, Newark Dyke and other early English bridges is now rarely used in Europe. But it is so commonly used in America as to be regarded as a distinctive American feature. With pin connexions some weight is saved in the girders, and erection is a little easier. In early pin bridges insufficient bearing area was allowed between the pins and parts connected, and they worked loose. In some cases riveted covers had to be substituted for the pins. The proportions are now better understood. Nevertheless the tendency is to use riveted connexions in preference to pins, and in any case to use pins for tension members only.

On the first English railways cast iron girder bridges for spans of 20 to 66 ft. were used, and in some cases these were trussed with wrought iron. When in 1845 the plans for carrying the Chester and Holyhead railway over the Menai Straits were considered, the conditions imposed by the admiralty in the interests of navigation involved the adoption of a new type of bridge. There was an idea of using suspension chains combined with a girder, and in fact the tower piers were built so as to accommodate chains. But the theory of such a combined structure could not be formulated at that time, and it was proved, partly by experiment, that a simple tubular girder of wrought iron was strong enough to carry the railway. The Britannia bridge (fig. 16) has two spans of 460 and two of 230 ft. at 104 ft. above high water. It consists of a pair of tubular girders with solid or plate sides stiffened by angle irons, one line of rails passing through each tube. Each girder is 1511 ft. long and weighs 4680 tons. In cross section (fig. 17), it is 15 ft. wide and varies in depth from 23 ft. at the ends to 30 ft. at the centre. Partly to counteract any tendency to buckling under compression and partly for convenience in assembling a great mass of plates, the top and bottom were made cellular, the cells being just large enough to permit passage for painting. The total area of the cellular top flange of the large-span girders is 648 sq. in., and of the bottom 585 sq. in. As no scaffolding could be used for the centre spans, the girders were built on shore, floated out and raised by hydraulic presses. The credit for the success of the Conway and Britannia bridges must be divided between the engineers. Robert Stephenson and William Fairbairn, and Eaton Hodgkinson, who assisted in the experimental tests and in formulating the imperfect theory then available. The Conway bridge was first completed, and the first train passed through the Britannia bridge in 1850. Though each girder has been made continuous over the four spans it has not quite the proportions over the piers which a continuous girder should have, and must be regarded as an imperfectly continuous girder. The spans were in fact designed as independent girders, the advantage of continuity being at that time imperfectly known. The vertical sides of the girders are stiffened so that they amount to 40% of the whole weight. This was partly necessary to meet the uncertain conditions in floating when the distribution of supporting forces was unknown and there were chances of distortion.

FIG. 16.—Britannia Bridge.
FIG. 17.—Britannia Bridge (Cross Section of Tubular Girder).

Wrought iron and, later, steel plate web girders were largely used for railway bridges in England after the construction of the Conway and Menai bridges, and it was in the discussions arising during their design that the proper function of the vertical web between the top and bottom flanges of a girder first came to be understood. The proportion of depth to span in the Britannia bridge was 1/16. But so far as the flanges are concerned the stress to be resisted varies inversely as the depth of the girder. It would be economical, therefore, to make the girder very deep. This, however, involves a much heavier web, and therefore for any type of girder there must be a ratio of depth to span which is most economical. In the case of the plate web there must be a considerable excess of material, partly to stiffen it against buckling and partly because an excess of thickness must be provided to reduce the effect of corrosion. It was soon found that with plate webs the ratio of depth to span could not be economically increased beyond 1/15 to 1/12. On the other hand a framed or braced web afforded opportunity for much better arrangement of material, and it very soon became apparent that open web or lattice or braced girders were more economical of material than solid web girders, except for small spans. In America such girders were used from the first and naturally followed the general design of the earlier timber bridges. Now plate web girders are only used for spans of less than 100 ft.

Three types of bracing for the web very early developed—the Warren type in which the bracing bars form equilateral triangles, the Whipple Murphy in which the struts are vertical and the ties inclined, and the lattice in which both struts and ties are inclined at equal angles, usually 45° with the horizontal. The earliest published theoretical investigations of the stresses in bracing bars were perhaps those in the paper by W.T. Doyne and W.B. Blood (Proc. Inst. C.E., 1851, xi. p. 1), and the paper by J. Barton, "On the economic distribution of material in the sides of wrought iron beams" (Proc. Inst. C.E., 1855, xiv. p. 443).

FIG. 18.—Span of Saltash Bridge.

The Boyne bridge, constructed by Barton in Ireland, in 1854-1855, was a remarkable example of the confidence with which engineers began to apply theory in design. It was a bridge for two lines of railway with lattice girders continuous over three spans. The centre span was 264 ft., and the side spans 138 ft. 8 in.; depth 22 ft. 6 in. Not only were the bracing bars designed to calculated stresses, and the continuity of the girders taken into account, but the validity of the calculations was tested by a verification on the actual bridge of the position of the points of contrary flexure of the centre span. At the calculated position of one of the points of contrary flexure all the rivets of the top boom were cut out, and by lowering the end of the girder over the side span one inch, the joint was opened 1/32 in. Then the rivets were cut out similarly at the other point of contrary flexure and the joint opened. The girder held its position with both joints severed, proving that, as should be the case, there was no stress in the boom where the bending moment changes sign.

FIG. 19.—Newark Dyke Bridge and Section of Newark Dyke Bridge

By curving the top boom of a girder to form an arch and the bottom boom to form a suspension chain, the need of web except for non-uniform loading is obviated. I.K. Brunel adopted this principle for the Saltash bridge near Plymouth, built soon after the Britannia bridge. It has two spans of 455 ft. and seventeen smaller spans, the roadway being 100 ft. above high water. The top boom of each girder is an elliptical wrought iron tube 17 ft. wide by 12 ft. deep. The lower boom is a pair of chains, of wrought-iron links, 14 in each chain, of 7 in. by 1 in. section, the links being connected by pins. The suspending rods and cross bracing are very light. The depth of the girder at the centre is about one-eighth of the span.

FIG. 20.—Fink Truss.

In both England and America in early braced bridges cast iron, generally in the form of tubes circular or octagonal in section, was used for compression members, and wrought iron for the tension members. Fig. 19 shows the Newark Dyke bridge on the Great Northern railway over the Trent. It was a pin-jointed Warren girder bridge erected from designs by C.M. Wild in 1851-1853. The span between supports was 259 ft., the clear span 240½ ft.; depth between joint pins 16 ft. There were four girders, two to each line of way. The top flange consisted of cast iron hollow castings butted end to end, and the struts were of cast iron. The lower flange and ties were flat wrought iron links. This bridge has now been replaced by a stronger bridge to carry the greater loads imposed by modern traffic. Fig. 20 shows a Fink truss, a characteristic early American type, with cast iron compression and wrought iron tension members. The bridge is a deck bridge, the railway being carried on top. The transfer of the loads to the ends of the bridge by long ties is uneconomical, and this type has disappeared. The Warren type, either with two sets of bracing bars or with intermediate verticals, affords convenient means of supporting the floor girders. In 1869 a bridge of 390 ft. span was built on this system at Louisville.

Amongst remarkable American girder bridges may be mentioned the Ohio bridge on the Cincinnati & Covington railway, which is probably the largest girder span constructed. The centre span is 550 ft. and the side spans 490 ft.—centre to centre of piers. The girders are independent polygonal girders. The centre girder has a length of 545 ft. and a depth of 84 ft. between pin centres. It is 67 ft. between parapets, and carries two lines of railway, two carriageways, and two footways. The cross girders, stringers and wind-bracing are wrought iron, the rest of mild steel. The bridge was constructed in 1888 by the Phoenix Bridge Company, and was erected on staging. The total weight of iron and steel in three spans was about 5000 tons.

FIG. 21.—Typical Cantilever Bridge.
FIG. 22.

10. (e) Cantilever Bridges.—It has been stated that if in a girder bridge of three or more spans, the girders were made continuous there would be an important economy of material, but that the danger of settlement of the supports, which would seriously alter the points of contrary flexure or points where the bending moment changes sign, and therefore the magnitude and distribution of the stresses, generally prevents the adoption of continuity. If, however, hinges or joints are introduced at the points of contrary flexure, they become necessarily points where the bending moment is zero and ambiguity as to the stresses vanishes. The exceptional local conditions at the site of the Forth bridge led to the adoption there of the cantilever system, till then little considered. Now it is well understood that in many positions this system is the simplest and most economical method of bridging. It is available for spans greater than those practicable with independent girders; in fact, on this system the spans are virtually reduced to smaller spans so far as the stresses are concerned. There is another advantage which in many cases is of the highest importance. The cantilevers can be built out from the piers, member by member, without any temporary scaffolding below, so that navigation is not interrupted, the cost of scaffolding is saved, and the difficulty of building in deep water is obviated. The centre girder may be built on the cantilevers and rolled into place or lifted from the water-level. Fig. 21 shows a typical cantilever bridge of American design. In this case the shore ends of the cantilevers are anchored to the abutments. J.A.L. Waddell has shown that, in some cases, it is convenient to erect simple independent spans, by building them out as cantilevers and converting them into independent girders after erection. Fig. 22 shows girders erected in this way, the dotted lines being temporary members during erection, which are removed afterwards. The side spans are erected first on staging and anchored to the piers. From these, by the aid of the temporary members, the centre span is built out from both sides. The most important cantilever bridges so far erected or projected are as follows:—

FIG. 23.—Forth Bridge.

(1) The Forth bridge (fig. 23). The original design was for a stiffened suspension bridge, but after the fall of the Tay bridge in 1879 this was abandoned. The bridge, which was begun in 1882 and completed in 1889, is at the only narrowing of the Forth in a distance of 50 m., at a point where the channel, about a mile in width, is divided by the island of Inchgarvie. The length of the cantilever bridge is 5330 ft., made up thus: central tower on Inchgarvie 260 ft.; Fife and Queensferry piers each 145 ft.; two central girders between cantilevers each 350 ft.; and six cantilevers each 680 ft. The two main spans are each 1710 ft. The clear headway is 157 ft., and the extreme height of the towers above high water 361 ft. The outer ends of the shore cantilevers are loaded to balance half the weight of the central girder, the rolling load, and 200 tons in addition. An internal viaduct of lattice girders carries a double line of rails. Provision is made for longitudinal expansion due to change of temperature, for distortion due to the sun acting on one side of the structure, and for the wind acting on one side of the bridge. The amount of steel used was 38,000 tons exclusive of approach viaducts. (See The Forth Bridge, by W. Westhofen; Reports of the British Association (1884 and 1885); Die Forth Brücke, von G. Barkhausen (Berlin, 1889); The Forth Bridge, by Philip Phillips (1890); Vernon Harcourt, Proc. Inst. C.E. cxxi. p. 309.)

(2) The Niagara bridge of a total length of 910 ft., for two lines of railway. Clear span between towers 495 ft. Completed in 1883, and more recently strengthened (Proc. Inst. C.E. cvii. p. 18, and cxliv. p. 331).

FIG. 24.—Lansdowne Bridge.

(3) The Lansdowne bridge (completed 1889) at Sukkur, over the Indus. The clear span is 790 ft., and the suspended girder 200 ft. in length. The span to the centres of the end uprights is 820 ft.; width between centres of main uprights at bed-plate 100 ft., and between centres of main members at end of cantilevers 20 ft. The bridge is for a single line of railway of 5 ft. 6 in. gauge. The back guys are the most heavily strained part of the structure, the stress provided for being 1200 tons. This is due to the half weight of centre girder, the weight of the cantilever itself, the rolling load on half the bridge, and the wind pressure. The anchors are built up of steel plates and angle, bars, and are buried in a large mass of concrete. The area of each anchor plate, normal to the line of stress, is 32 ft. by 12 ft. The bridge was designed by Sir A. Rendel, the consulting engineer to the Indian government (Proc. Inst. C.E. ciii. p. 123).

(4) The Red Rock cantilever bridge over the Colorado river, with a centre span of 660 ft.

(5) The Poughkeepsie bridge over the Hudson, built 1886-1887. There are five river and two shore spans. The girders over the second and fourth spans are extended as cantilevers over the adjoining spans. The shore piers carry cantilevers projecting one way over the river openings and the other way over a shore span where it is secured to an anchorage. The girder spans are 525 ft., the cantilever spans 547 ft., and the shore spans 201 ft.

FIG. 25.—Quebec Bridge (original design).

(6) The Quebec bridge (fig. 25) over the St Lawrence, which collapsed while in course of construction in 1907. This bridge, connecting very important railway systems, was designed to carry two lines of rails, a highway and electric railway on each side, all between the main trusses. Length between abutments 3240 ft.; channel span 1800 ft.; suspended span 675 ft.; shore spans 562½ ft. Total weight of metal about 32,000 tons.

FIG. 26.—Jubilee Bridge over the Hugli.

(7) The Jubilee bridge over the Hugli, designed by Sir Bradford Leslie, is a cantilever bridge of another type (fig. 26). The girders are of the Whipple Murphy type, but with curved top booms. The bridge carries a double line of railway, between the main girders. The central double cantilever is 360 ft. long. The two side span girders are 420 ft long. The cantilever rests on two river piers 120 ft. apart, centre to centre. The side girders rest on the cantilevers on 15 in. pins, in pendulum links suspended from similar pins in saddles 9 ft. high.

FIG. 27.—Coalbrookdale Bridge.

11. (f) Metal Arch Bridges.—The first iron bridge erected was constructed by John Wilkinson (1728-1808) and Abraham Darby (1750-1791) in 1773-1779 at Coalbrookdale over the Severn (fig. 27). It had five cast iron arched ribs with a centre span of 100 ft. This curious bridge is still in use. Sir B. Baker stated that it had required patching for ninety years, because the arch and the high side arches would not work together. Expansion and contraction broke the high arch and the connexions between the arches. When it broke they fished it. Then the bolts sheared or the ironwork broke in a new place. He advised that there was nothing unsafe; it was perfectly strong and the stress in vital parts moderate. All that needed to be done was to fish the fractured ribs of the high arches, put oval holes in the fishes, and not screw up the bolts too tight.

Cast iron arches of considerable span were constructed late in the 18th and early in the 19th century. The difficulty of casting heavy arch ribs led to the construction of cast iron arches of cast voussoirs, somewhat like the voussoirs of masonry bridges. Such a bridge was the Wearmouth bridge, designed by Rowland Burdon and erected in 1793-1796, with a span of 235 ft. Southwark bridge over the Thames, designed by John Rennie with cast iron ribs and erected in 1814-1819, has a centre span of 240 ft. and a rise of 24 ft. In Paris the Austerlitz (1800-1806) and Carrousel (1834-1836) bridges had cast iron arches. In 1858 an aqueduct bridge was erected at Washington by M.C. Meigs (1816-1892). This had two arched ribs formed by the cast iron pipes through which the water passed. The pipes were 4 ft. in diameter inside, 1½ in. thick, and were lined with staves of pine 3 in. thick to prevent freezing. The span was 200 ft.

FIG. 28.—Arch of Bridge at Coblenz.

Fig. 28 shows one of the wrought iron arches of a bridge over the Rhine at Coblenz. The bridge consists of three spans of about 315 ft. each.

FIG. 29.—St Louis Bridge.

Of large-span bridges with steel arches, one of the most important is the St Louis bridge over the Mississippi, completed in 1874 (fig. 29). The river at St Louis is confined to a single channel, 1600 ft. wide, and in a freshet in 1870 the scour reached a depth of 51 ft. Captain J.B. Eads, the engineer, determined to establish the piers and abutments on rock at a depth for the east pier and east abutment of 136 ft. below high water. This was effected by caissons with air chambers and air locks, a feat unprecedented in the annals of engineering. The bridge has three spans, each formed of arches of cast steel. The centre span is 520 ft. and the side spans 502 ft. in the clear. The rise of the centre arch is 47½ ft., and that of the side arches 46 ft. Each span has four steel double ribs of steel tubes butted and clasped by wrought iron couplings. The vertical bracing between the upper and lower members of each rib, which are 12 ft. apart, centre to centre, consolidates them into a single arch. The arches carry a double railway track and above this a roadway 54 ft. wide.

The St Louis bridge is not hinged, but later bridges have been constructed with hinges at the springings and sometimes with hinges at the crown also.

The Alexander III. bridge over the Seine has fifteen steel ribs hinged at crown and springings with a span of 353 ft. between centres of hinges and 358 ft. between abutments. The rise from side to centre hinges is 20 ft. 7 in. The roadway is 65½ ft. wide and footways 33 ft. (Proc. Inst. C.E. cxxx. p. 335).

FIG. 30.—Viaur Viaduct.

The largest three-hinged-arch bridge constructed is the Viaur viaduct in the south of France (fig. 30). The central span is 721 ft. 9 in. and the height of the rails above the valley 380 ft. It has a very fine appearance, especially when seen in perspective and not merely in elevation.

FIG. 31.—Douro Viaduct.

Fig. 31 shows the Douro viaduct of a total length of 1158 ft. carrying a railway 200 ft. above the water. The span of the central opening is 525 ft. The principal rib is crescent-shaped 32.8 ft. deep at the crown. Rolling load taken at 1.2 ton per ft. Weight of centre span 727 tons. The Luiz I. bridge is another arched bridge over the Douro, also designed by T. Seyrig. This has a span of 566 ft. There are an upper and lower roadway, 164 ft. apart vertically. The arch rests on rollers and is narrowest at the crown. The reason given for this change of form was that it more conveniently allowed the lower road to pass between the springings and ensured the transmission of the wind stresses to the abutments without interrupting the cross-bracing. Wire cables were used in the erection, by which the members were lifted from barges and assembled, the operations being conducted from the side piers.

FIG. 32.—Niagara Falls and Clifton Bridge.

The Niagara Falls and Clifton steel arch (fig. 32) replaces the older Roebling suspension bridge. The centre span is a two-hinged parabolic braced rib arch, and there are side spans of 190 and 210 ft. The bridge carries two electric-car tracks, two roadways and two footways. The main span weighed 1629 tons, the side spans 154 and 166 tons (Buck, Proc. Inst. C.E. cxliv. p. 70). Prof. Claxton Fidler, speaking of the arrangement adopted for putting initial stress on the top chord, stated that this bridge marked the furthest advance yet made in this type of construction. When such a rib is erected on centering without initial stress, the subsequent compression of the arch under its weight inflicts a bending stress and excess of compression in the upper member at the crown. But the bold expedients adopted by the engineer annulled the bending action.

The Garabit viaduct carries the railway near St Flour, in the Cantal department, France, at 420 ft. above low water. The deepest part of the valley is crossed by an arch of 541 ft. span, and 213 ft. rise. The bridge is similar to that at Oporto, also designed by Seyrig. It is formed by a crescent-shaped arch, continued on one side by four, on the other side by two lattice girder spans, on iron piers. The arch is formed by two lattice ribs hinged at the abutments. Its depth at the crown is 33 ft., and its centre line follows nearly the parabolic line of pressures. The two arch ribs are 65½ ft. apart at the springings and 20½ ft. at the crown. The roadway girders are lattice, 17 ft. deep, supported from the arch ribs at four points. The total length of the viaduct is 1715 ft. The lattice girders of the side spans were first rolled into place, so as to project some distance beyond the piers, and then the arch ribs were built out, being partly supported by wire-rope cables from the lattice girders above. The total weight of ironwork was 3200 tons and the cost £124,000 (Annales des travaux publiques, 1884).

The Victoria Falls bridge over the Zambezi, designed by Sir Douglas Fox, and completed in 1905, is a combination of girder and arch having a total length of 650 ft. The centre arch is 500 ft. span, the rise of the crown 90 ft., and depth at crown 15 ft. The width between centres of ribs of main arch is 27½ ft. at crown and 53 ft. 9 in at springings. The curve of the main arch is a parabola. The bridge has a roadway of 30 ft. for two lines of rails. Each half arch was supported by cables till joined at the centre. An electric cableway of 900 ft. span capable of carrying 10 tons was used in erection.

12. (g) Movable Bridges can be closed to carry a road or railway or in some cases an aqueduct, but can be opened to give free passage to navigation. They are of several types:—

FIG. 33.

(1) Lifting Bridges.—The bridge with its platform is suspended from girders above by chains and counterweights at the four corners (fig. 33 a). It is lifted vertically to the required height when opened. Bridges of this type are not very numerous or important.

(2) Rolling Bridges.—The girders are longer than the span and the part overhanging the abutment is counter-weighted so that the centre of gravity is over the abutment when the bridge is rolled forward (fig. 33 b). To fill the gap in the approaches when the bridge is rolled forward a frame carrying that part of the road is moved into place sideways. At Sunderland, the bridge is first lifted by a hydraulic press so as to clear the roadway behind, and is then rolled back.

(3) Draw or Bascule Bridges.—The fortress draw-bridge is the original type, in which a single leaf, or bascule, turns round a horizontal hinge at one abutment. The bridge when closed is supported on abutments at each end. It is raised by chains and counterweights. A more common type is a bridge with two leaves or bascules, one hinged at each abutment. When closed the bascules are locked at the centre (see fig. 13). In these bridges each bascule is prolonged backwards beyond the hinge so as to balance at the hinge, the prolongation sinking into the piers when the bridge is opened.

(4) Swing or Turning Bridges.—The largest movable bridges revolve about a vertical axis. The bridge is carried on a circular base plate with a central pivot and a circular track for a live ring and conical rollers. A circular revolving platform rests on the pivot and rollers. A toothed arc fixed to the revolving platform or to the live ring serves to give motion to the bridge. The main girders rest on the revolving platform, and the ends of the bridge are circular arcs fitting the fixed roadway. Three arrangements are found: (a) the axis of rotation is on a pier at the centre of the river and the bridge is equal armed (fig. 33 c), so that two navigation passages are opened simultaneously. (b) The axis of rotation is on one abutment, and the bridge is then usually unequal armed (fig. 33 d), the shorter arm being over the land. (c) In some small bridges the shorter arm is vertical and the bridge turns on a kind of vertical crane post at the abutment (fig. 33 e).

(5) Floating Bridges, the roadway being carried on pontoons moored in the stream.

The movable bridge in its closed position must be proportioned like a fixed bridge, but it has also other conditions to fulfil. If it revolves about a vertical axis its centre of gravity must always lie in that axis; if it rolls the centre of gravity must always lie over the abutment. It must have strength to support safely its own overhanging weight when moving.

At Konigsberg there is a road bridge of two fixed spans of 39 ft., and a central span of 60 ft. between bearings, or 41 ft. clear, with balanced bascules over the centre span. Each bascule consists of two main girders with cross girders and stringers. The main girders are hung at each side on a horizontal shaft 8⅝ in. in diameter, and are 6 ft. deep at the hinge, diminishing to 1 ft. 7 in. at the centre of the span. The counterweight is a depressed cantilever arm 12 ft. long, overlapped by the fixed platform which sinks into a recess in the masonry when the bridge opens. In closed position the main girders rest on a bed plate on the face of the pier 4 ft. 3 in. beyond the shaft bearings. The bridge is worked by hydraulic power, an accumulator with a load of 34 tons supplying pressure water at 630 lb per sq. in. The bridge opens in 15 seconds and closes in 25 seconds.

At the opening span of the Tower bridge (fig. 13) there are four main girders in each bascule. They project 100 ft. beyond and 62 ft. 6 in. within the face of the piers. Transverse girders and bracings are inserted between the main girders at 12 ft. intervals. The floor is of buckled plates paved with wood blocks. The arc of rotation is 82°, and the axis of rotation is 13 ft. 3 in. inside the face of the piers, and 5 ft. 7 in. below the roadway. The weight of ballast in the short arms of the bascules is 365 tons. The weight of each leaf including ballast is about 1070 tons. The axis is of forged steel 21 in. in diameter and 48 ft. long. The axis has eight bearings, consisting of rings of live rollers 4-7/16 in. in diameter and 22 in. long. The bascules are rotated by pinions driven by hydraulic engines working in steel sectors 42 ft. radius (Proc. Inst. C.E. cxxvii. p. 35).

As an example of a swing bridge, that between Duluth and Superior at the head of Lake Superior over the St Louis river may be described. The centre opening is 500 ft., spanned by a turning bridge, 58 ft. wide. The girders weighing 2000 tons carry a double track for trains between the girders and on each side on cantilevers a trolley track, roadway and footway. The bridge can be opened in 2 minutes, and is operated by two large electric motors. These have a speed reduction from armature shaft to bridge column of 1500 to 1, through four intermediate spur gears and a worm gear. The end lifts which transfer the weight of the bridge to the piers when the span is closed consist of massive eccentrics having a throw of 4 in. The clearance is 2 in., so that the ends are lifted 2 in. This gives a load of 50 tons per eccentric. One motor is placed at each end of the span to operate the eccentrics and also to release the latches and raise the rails of the steam track.

At Riga there is a floating pontoon bridge over the Duna. It consists of fourteen rafts, 105 ft. in length, each supported by two pontoons placed 64 ft. apart. The pairs of rafts are joined by three baulks 15 ft. long laid in parallel grooves in the framing. Two spans are arranged for opening easily. The total length is 1720 ft. and the width 46 ft. The pontoons are of iron, 85½ ft. in length, and their section is elliptical, 10½ ft. horizontal and 12 ft. vertical. The displacement of each pontoon is 180 tons and its weight 22 tons. The mooring chains, weighing 22 lb per ft., are taken from the upstream end of each pontoon to a downstream screw pile mooring and from the downstream end to an upstream screw pile.

13. Transporter Bridges.—This new type of bridge consists of a high level bridge from which is suspended a car at a low level. The car receives the traffic and conveys it across the river, being caused to travel by electric machinery on the high level bridge. Bridges of this type have been erected at Portugalete, Bizerta, Rouen, Rochefort and more recently across the Mersey between the towns of Widnes and Runcorn.

FIG. 34.—Widnes and Runcorn Transporter Bridge.

The Runcorn bridge crosses the Manchester Ship Canal and the Mersey in one span of 1000 ft., and four approach spans of 55½ ft. on one side and one span on the other. The low-level approach roadways are 35 ft. wide with footpaths 6 ft. wide on each side. The supporting structure is a cable suspension bridge with stiffening girders. A car is suspended from the bridge, carried by a trolley running on the underside of the stiffening girders, the car being propelled electrically from one side to the other. The underside of the stiffening girder is 82 ft. above the river. The car is 55 ft. long by 24½ ft. wide. The electric motors are under the control of the driver in a cabin on the car. The trolley is an articulated frame 77 ft. long in five sections coupled together with pins. To this are fixed the bearings of the running wheels, fourteen on each side. There are two steel-clad series-wound motors of 36 B.H.P. For a test load of 120 tons the tractive force is 70 lb per ton, which is sufficient for acceleration, and maintaining speed against wind pressure. The brakes are magnetic, with auxiliary handbrakes. Electricity is obtained by two gas engines (one spare) each of 75 B.H.P.

On the opening day passengers were taken across at the rate of more than 2000 per hour in addition to a number of vehicles. The time of crossing is 3 or 4 minutes. The total cost of the structure was £133,000.

14. In the United States few railway companies design or build their own bridges. General specifications as to span, loading, &c., are furnished to bridge-building companies, which make the design under the direction of engineers who are experts in this kind of work. The design, with strain sheets and detail drawings, is submitted to the railway engineer with estimates. The result is that American bridges are generally of well-settled types and their members of uniform design, carefully considered with reference to convenient and accurate manufacture. Standard patterns of details are largely adopted, and more system is introduced in the workshop than is possible where the designs are more varied. Riveted plate girders are used up to 50 ft. span, riveted braced girders for spans of 50 ft. to 75 ft., and pin-connected girders for longer spans. Since the erection of the Forth bridge, cantilever bridges have been extensively used, and some remarkable steel arch and suspension bridges have also been constructed. Overhead railways are virtually continuous bridge constructions, and much attention has been given to a study of the special conditions appertaining to that case.