What are the important eras that helped innovate steel bridge construction and design?
- Industrial Revolution
- 20th Century
- Modern Era
Steel products in the Philippines have helped some of the country’s largest and most successful construction projects come to fruition during the past few decades. From high-rise condominium projects scattered throughout the city of Manila to various government projects across the country, steel has been one of the central components in the construction industry.
Among the many projects that were produced are steel bridges, which have greatly shaped the world as we know it today. From connecting communities and countries together, steel bridges are not only a symbol of connection and progress, but they are also a testament on how far innovations in construction have come. Let us take a look at how the first steel bridges were made, and how they developed to become the steady and strong structures that they are today.
The construction of some of the earliest forms of modern steel bridges began during the industrial revolution. With the introduction of the steam engine, the railroad, along with the establishment of some of the world’s first factories, the ability to construct larger and stronger structures with the use of steel has now become possible.
The first bridge that was built using steel bars and wires is the Brooklyn Bridge in the United States. Built to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn together, the Brooklyn Bridge continues to stand today, with its durable structure still able to support the thousands of vehicles and people on a regular basis. Along with the Brooklyn Bridge, a number of railroad bridges during the time were constructed using steel, with a notable example being the Forth Railway Bridge in Scotland, which is still one of the largest steel structures today.
Modern Bridge Design
After the industrial revolution, the 20th century saw the widespread use of steel as construction material, which not only helped build more steel bridges but also helped build the world’s first skyscrapers. These impressive construction projects not only push the boundaries of construction but also helped in the economic progress and development of various countries, making transportation of people and supplies across different regions possible. From connecting communities over large bodies of water to making high-elevation areas easier to navigate, the steel bridge has proven to be a structure that is able to withstand the rigors of harsh elements and daily use.
Notable modern steel bridge designs constructed during the 20th century include the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, which eventually became one of the most iconic bridges in the world, the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia, and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan. Along with becoming famous landmarks in their own right, these steel bridges also broke records as well, with these projects becoming some of the most ambitious and biggest projects of their time. As construction innovation and design continue to evolve, the construction of steel bridges will continue to be one of the pinnacles of modern construction.
Steel Bridges Today
Today, the construction of steel bridges across the world are still ambitious projects that require a lot of time, personnel, and steel products from the Philippines to pull off. While most of the world’s economic centers have constructed their own set of steel bridges that help connect cities and countries together, numerous countries still continue to build more steel bridges in order to expand their transportation networks and help make the transportation of people and supplies move more efficiently.
Today’s generation of steel bridges also continues to push the boundaries in terms of size and strength, as some of the latest bridge designs expected to have a lifespan of 50 to 100 years. This durability is also a testament to how steel has proven to be the most effective construction materials today, as their durability and versatility has helped shape these projects and turn them into reality.
Nowadays, it is very difficult to imagine a country or city without a steel bridge that can help connect cities and communities to each other, as they have become mainstays in their respective cities and countries, with some even becoming tourist destinations that have turned them into identifying landmarks for their respective locations. As construction projects become more ambitious, along with the rapidly rising economy of various countries in the world, the construction of steel bridges will continue to become a common fixture in the years to come.
Steel bridges have become more than just strong and durable structures that help with the transportation and movement of people and supplies across long distances as they have become icons of their respective cities and countries. These structures stand as a testament to pushing the boundaries of construction projects, along with the growing the developing economy of the countries they’re constructed in. The next time you pass one of these massive steel bridges, it is best to appreciate and marvel at these well-designed steel structures and look back how far the world has come in terms of innovation in construction.