Do you know the difference between a girder bridge and a truss bridge? What about a beam and an arch bridge? It may seem like a silly question, but once you know the answer, it’ll make sense why one railing type is better suited for one kind of bridge vs. another.
There’s more to roadway railing than just keeping people safe – every design choice has its boons and drawbacks that need to be considered when making your selection.
Aren’t you curious to find out more? Stay tuned as Florida Roadway Guardrail and Signs, Inc., a full-service provider of Florida roadway and highway safety products, takes you on a tour to learn about the many types of bridges.
What’s the Purpose of a Bridge?
Bridges are built to cross over something, whether a river, a valley, or streets. But there’s more them than that – each bridge has its own specific purpose that needs to be considered when designing it. Different types of bridges include:
Beam Bridges: The Most Basic Bridge Type
The least complex form of a bridge, a beam bridge, is composed of a horizontal beam supported by piers at each end. The beam applies downward pressure on the piers, which transmits the burden to the ground. These bridges can span up to 250 feet. Because they’re so simple, they can be built quickly and are often used as emergency bridges.
The recommended railing system for beam bridges is a parapet rail. This type of rail comprises a concrete barrier at least three feet high. It’s a simple and effective way to keep pedestrians and vehicles from falling off the side of the bridge.
Arch Bridges: A More Elegant Bridge Type
Have you ever crossed a bridge and been amazed by its graceful design? If so, you were probably crossing an arch bridge. The oldest form of bridges, still in use today, are arch bridges.
There are two types of arch bridges: true arches and false arches. True arches are constructed using masonry or concrete. On the other hand, False arches are made with steel or reinforced concrete.
Parapet railings are a good choice for arch bridges. They’re low-maintenance, and they don’t obstruct the view.
Truss Bridges: A More Complex Bridge Type
Truss bridges are made up of a series of connected triangles that support the structure’s weight. These bridges can span much longer distances than beam bridges – up to 800 feet! They’re also more expensive and complex to build.
Usually, retrofit railings are the best option for truss bridges. A retrofit system is designed to be added to an existing structure. That means it won’t put any extra strain on the bridge itself. And, since truss bridges are often very old, a retrofit railing system is often the best option.
Suspension Bridges: The Longest Spans of All
The most extended spans are found on suspension bridges. Suspension bridges have cables that suspend the roadway from towers. The towers support the weight of the cables, which supports the weight of the highway and traffic.
There are two types of suspension bridges: cable-stayed and suspended decks. In a cable-stayed bridge, the towers are located directly above the piers that support them.
If you want to pick a railing system for truss bridges, you’ll need to consider the bridge’s size, weight, and wind load. Stainless cable railings are a good choice for these bridges.
Here at Florida Roadway Guardrail & Signs, Inc., we offer a variety of guard rails, handrails, and bridge rails to keep people in Sebastian, FL, safe. We know what railing works best for each type of bridge and can help you choose the right roadway safety system for your needs.