8 Advantages and Disadvantages of Suspension Bridges

The term suspension bridge is the description of a road that hangs from cables. Basically, these are roadways running over a distance that are suspended by two towers. These towers have cables, chains and/or ropes across in order to support the roadways.

A popular landmark of this type is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. This type of structure is made up of many components. Another example is a simple one that is composed of just ropes that are slung over a chasm. The first version of this used iron chains built by the famous bridge builder from Tibet.

Although such designs are being used in many places from simple structures to iconic bridges, they have their share of advantages and disadvantages.

List Of Advantages Of Suspension Bridges

1. Long distance
The length of suspension bridges can span around two thousand to thirteen thousand feet. No other type of bridge can reach more than this. So it is often the design being chosen by builders to connect distant locations. However, it can also be under spanned based on the distance required.

2. Inexpensive to build
The materials needed to build this type of bridge are only minimal, such as anchorage, cable and roadway. So even with small funds, communities that require building suspension bridges can easily be constructed. More so, even with just rope and wood, creating a functional bridge is always a possibility.

3. Easy to maintain
Maintenance of suspension bridges does not require a lot of materials to keep it strong and durable. It will only need regular checkup and it can last for a long time before it will need overhaul. In fact, communities need not should a lot of expenses just to keep such structures functional.

4. Pleasing to the eyes
The creation of suspension bridges can be aesthetically pleasing, unlike truss and beam bridges. Its curved and linear features add to the beauty of this structure that makes it an attraction to many.

List Of Disadvantages Of Suspension Bridges

1. Vulnerability to wind
The ability of the bridge to withstand twisting and bending makes it an attractive feature, but not with high or strong winds. When wind is very strong, it may put too much weight on the support cable, making it break. For this reason, engineers must consider these qualities when building suspension bridges.

2. Limitation on loads
Roadways on such bridges can get heavy depending on the load. So it must be just the right weight so that cables can support it without breaking. In this regard, it can’t accommodate too heavy traffic because it can only allow a limited amount of weight that can pass through.

3. Requires time and money
This is the tricky part because building a suspension bridge is basically inexpensive. The cost will balloon once the duration to finish it is considered. Also, access under the construction is strictly given limitation, particularly in waterways. This means that businesses that require transport to pass in that area will have difficulty.

4. Limited applications
It requires the structure to be flexible enough to avoid being destroyed by the wind. It also can’t support rail traffic, which most heavy cargo are carried through rails.