The Change Between Suspension Bridges Before 1940 and Suspension Bridges Today

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Suspension bridges were important before 1940 and are still important today. Major cities such as San Francisco, and Manhattan both have a suspension bridge. Suspension bridges are,” a bridge having a deck suspended from cables anchored at their extremities and usually raised on towers” (dictionary.com). Due to the fact that suspension bridges are not completely supported throughout the length of the bridge, past bridges were unsafe. For example, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a suspension bridge opened on July 1st, 1940 (Mark Ketchum). This bridge marked a huge point in suspension bridge safety and engineering, because in collapsed approximately four months after it was opened (Parsons). The collapse caused such a shock, that suspension…show more content…
Sometimes the wind would not be perpendicular, in which the oscillation of the bridge was less, but there was still some oscillation. On November 7th, 1940, the Tacoma Bridge collapsed because the oscillation of the bridge became extreme. The oscillation of the bridge was caused by a wind speed of 42 mph (HistoryLink.org). After, approximately, an hour of a corkscrew like motion, the bridge collapsed into Puget Sound. This marked a huge turning point in the design of suspension bridges from that point in time to current time. Initially, suspension bridges before 1940 were made of piers, towers, wires, anchorages, and roadways. Piers were the main foundation for the suspension bridges. There usually were two of them, which were made out of cement and were entrenched in ground underneath the body of water that the bridge was spanned across. Towers were built on top of the piers to provide a means of connection for the roadways and wires. Wires were connected to the towers, roadways, and anchorages to provide tension support for the weight of the bridge. The anchorages were large cement platforms that were planted into the ground on either side of the land so that the wires could be connected to it. Lastly, the roadways were the main point of the suspension bridge. They usually were wide enough to provide four lanes of traffic and stretched from one side of the bridge to the other. This was the basic design of the suspension bridges

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