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Amazing Types of Suspension Bridges

Bhakti Satalkar Feb 8, 2019
There are a number of suspension bridges which can be seen all over the world. These bridges are man-made wonders, of which the most famous is the Golden Gate Bridge.
A structure which is built to cross over water bodies, landmasses or valleys, and is used as a passage to travel from one end to another, is called a bridge.
Different designs are used to build a bridge, taking the terrain and the function of the bridge into consideration.
Some of the different types of bridges are beam bridges, truss bridges, suspension bridges, arch bridges, etc. In a suspension bridge, the load bearing portion is in hung under suspension cables. There are vertical suspenders to help in maintain the load. There are cables suspended between towers on sides of the bridge along with the vertical suspenders.
The vertical suspenders help in carrying the weight of the load on the bridge. These kinds of bridges were initially used in mountainous terrains. The first of suspension bridges were built around Tibet and Bhutan. Suspension Bridges can be differentiated into further five types.

Which are the Types of Suspension Bridges

Simple Suspension Bridge

This type is the first type of suspension bridge to be constructed. The anchors on either side of the bridge support this bridge and it has no towers or piers for added support.
This bridge normally has an upward and downward arc, which is formed due to the deck of the bridge. Often there are additional light ropes, which are at waist height and form a handrail. The deck of the bridge is flexible and is supported by the cables which anchor to the earth.
These kinds of bridges are often foot bridges and connect two high locations either over a river or over a canyon or over a gorge. Due to the structure of the bridge, it has limited load bearing capacity.

George Washington Suspension Bridge

Underspanned Suspension Bridge

This suspension bridge type is also known as upper deck suspension bridge. The structure of this bridge differs from its ancestor, the simple suspension bridge.
The deck of the bridge is located above the main cables. Since the deck is raised, it is not as stable as decks which are laid on the cables, due to which very few underspanned bridges have been built. Like in the simple suspension bridge, the cables of the bridge are anchored into the ground.

Stressed Ribbon Bridge

The tension structure of the stressed ribbon bridge is similar to that of the simple suspension bridge. The cables are planted in the deck. The deck has a 'U' shaped arc between the supports.
It is the ribbon of the bridge which bears the compression, due to which these bridges are rather stiff and do not sway or bounce. These bridges are made by reinforcing concrete with steel tension cables. This is one of the strongest types of suspension bridges and can also be used for vehicular traffic.

Suspended Deck Suspension Bridge

This bridge is often also called suspension bridge and is the most common of the 'suspension bridge' types
The main cables, which suspend the bridge, are anchored into the earth. The suspenders carry the deck below the main cables. The deck of this bridge is stiff, which makes these bridges apt for heavy vehicular and rail traffic.

Self anchored Suspension Bridge

The main cables in this suspension bridge are attached to the either ends of the deck and do not anchor into the earth via large anchorages.
Therefore, these bridges are often constructed in areas where the soil is unstable and anchoring the bridge is difficult, for example, in Japan. They are also constructed on elevated piers.

Menai Suspension Bridge

Suspension bridges have higher clearance under the deck, which makes them apt to be built over major shipping waterways. The clean and slender lines of these bridges also make them aesthetically appealing. The beauty of these bridges is that they are less prone to collapsing and far more flexible, due to which they are able to withstand earthquakes.