Segmental arches are arches with an arc less than a 180-degree Roman arch. They seem to have been popular primarily in the 1700s and 1800s, although they were occasionally built in medieval times — rarely even by the Romans. What is a Segmental Arch Bridge? The term "segmental arch" is rather a loose; technically anything less than a 180-degree segment of a circle is a segmental arch. However, historically many bridges have been built that while technically segmental arches are so … [Read more...] about Segmental Arches
The Roman arch, consisting of one half of a circle, is the typical rounded arch often seen with stone bridges. The Roman arch need not have a thick abutment to resist a horizontal thrust; rather, they start (“spring”) on a flat, horizontal plane. This makes them very easy to build, which is always an advantage in construction. However, whereas a flat arch can be made with almost any rise-over-run ratio, a Roman arch will always have a rise equal to one half of the span. This can rapidly lead … [Read more...] about On Roman Arches
A bridge to add to our lesser-known stone arch bridge list is found in Butler County, Kansas. In Plum Grove Township, about 3 ½ miles north of Potwin, there is a peculiar little stone arch bridge over the Whitewater River on NW 155th Street. Located about ½ mile west of the 115th–Buffalo Road intersection, this little bridge features a remarkably small arch. It is vaguely reminiscent of a low-water bridge — though with a stone arch opening. The bridge has a long approach, with the arch … [Read more...] about Another Lesser-Known Stone Arch Bridge: Whitewater River Bridge
For the DIY enthusiast, building a stone bridge is a great project. Building with stone is actually is not so very hard once one acquires the knack; practice makes perfect. The best way to learn masonry is to do it. All you need to know are some masonry basics, and then you are ready to practice. Rules of Masonry The main rule of masonry is that any joint between two stones meeting end to end needs to be spanned by the layer of stone above it. This helps bond the stonework together. An … [Read more...] about Building Stone Arch Bridges: Masonry Basics
One characteristic of masonry structures in general, and stone arch bridges specifically, is the fact that the person(s) who built the bridge inevitably left behind a hallmark. Not just any and all plaques, but the workmanship itself is often telltale. Each builder has his own method, and, in the case of bridge contractors, the contracting company itself had its own method. Walter Sharp Walter Sharp, who built many bridges in Kansas, generally used large, chunky blocks of stone, not … [Read more...] about Stone Arch Bridges: Who Built It?
The stone arch bridge is a rather novel structure in the line of bridges. At a glance, it seems almost impossible that an arch, made of many discrete stones, could possibly stand, let alone support weight, yet that they do is entirely undeniable. Compression One more picturesque explanation of why an arch stands is that two columns of falling stones are “falling” into each other and hence can’t fall all the way. A more scientific explanation of the reason why arches not only stand, but hold … [Read more...] about How a Stone Arch Bridge Supports Weight
When building a stone arch bridge, the question sometimes arises as to how many arches are needed. In some cases the answer is obvious; for instance, a small gap begs for only one arch. But there are times when multiple arches are advantageous, despite the fact that a pier in the waterway is required. First, it is important to understand the limitations inherent to stone arches. An arch between 2 feet and 20 feet is fairly easily made and does not present major design challenges. Nor does … [Read more...] about Stone Arch Bridges: Spans and How Many?
It is often desired to build a stone arch bridge. Such a structure is scenic and, of course, lends a fine touch to landscaping. The question is how do you go about doing it? We have provided this short guide as a very general rule of thumb; the details of your construction will vary. We’ve based it on a small footbridge we built, including some lessons learned afterwards from the process. We assume no liability for use or misuse of this information, but we do hope this will be helpful to the … [Read more...] about Building a Stone Arch Bridge