The Change Between Suspension Bridges Before 1940 and Suspension Bridges Today

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 bridges had to be re-evaluated and re-designed to be safer. Currently, suspension bridges are safe because the collapse of the Tacoma Bridge.
Before the Tacoma Bridge collapse in 1940, suspension bridges were not as common as they are now. Engineers at the time saw them as productive and useful for travel and transportation, but saw them as expensive. In Tacoma, Washington, a decision was made to connect the city of Tacoma to Gig Harbor, which was across the vast lake known as Puget Sound (WSDOT). These types of suspension bridges usually had a metal truss running inside the structure, through the length of the bridge that helped to keep the deck of the roadways sturdier. Removing this important piece of metal made the bridge lighter and cut the total cost by $4 million (HistoryLink.org). This caused the Tacoma Bridge to have less resistance towards the wind. During the time that the bridge was upright and handling traffic, it was constantly oscillating. The oscillation was minimal, but enough to...


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....org http://www.ketchum.org/tacomacollapse.html, (accessed: March 04, 2014)
“Tacoma Narrows Bridge Project.” Parsons. Parson’s Corporation. http://www.parsons.com/projects/pages/tacoma-narrows-bridge.aspx, (accessed: March 04, 2014)
“Tacoma Narrows Bridge: The Bridge Machine Since 1950.” Tacoma Narrows Bridge: Washington State Department of Transportation. WSDOT. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/tnbhistory/machine/machine5.htm, (accessed: March 04, 2014)
“Tacoma Narrows Bridge: Lessons From the Failure of a Great Machine.” Tacoma Narrows Bridge: Washington State Department of Transportation. WSDOT. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/tnbhistory/machine/machine3.htm, (accessed: March 04, 2014)
“WSDOT – Tacoma Narrows Bridge: Extreme History.” Tacoma Narrows Bridge: Washington State Department of Transportation. WSDOT. http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/tnbhistory/, (accessed: March 04, 2014)

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