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Maintenance

The Life of a Stone Arch Bridge

Studying stone arch bridges that have been built using different construction methods reveals some interesting facts. Basically, the life of a stone arch bridge is directly related to how exactly the arch was built. Obviously, for any structure to last at all the foundations must be solid; but, that aside, how much of a role […]

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Maintenance

Update on Esch’s Spur Bridge

Back in June we wrote an article on the Esch’s Spur Bridge (also denoted as Kirk Bridge), a well-known triple-arch bridge outside Dexter, Cowley, Kansas, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After further flooding, the middle arch sustained substantial damage. A notable portion of the arch has collapsed, causing loss of part of […]

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Maintenance

On Spandrel Walls

One of the important parts of a stone arch bridge is the spandrel walls. The spandrel is the part of the bridge that is built up over the arch to form a reasonable roadbed grade. Unlike the approach, the spandrel walls are located over the arch. Except for a very flat arch, something must be […]

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Maintenance

Repair of Partially Collapsed Arches

Can a partially collapsed stone arch be repaired? While presenting a somewhat of a challenge, this sort of damage to a stone bridge is, nevertheless, reparable, as proved by the case of Ireland’s Avoca Village Bridge.1 The Avoca Village Bridge consists of several true semi-elliptical arches built with precision-cut stones. In August 1986, a series […]

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Maintenance

Stone Arch Bridge Maintenance

Part of the historical appeal of stone arch bridges was the fact that they needed but little maintenance. After all, stone does not rot out or need painted. Stone bridges also are substantially heavier than iron or wooden bridges, which meant that, whereas in major floods wooden bridges would set sail downstream and iron bridges […]

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History

Andes Bridge

The Andes Bridge, which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, is one of four double-arch bridges in Cowley County, Kansas. (The others include the Neer, Rock Creek, and the Fromm bridges—the smaller west arch of the Fromm Bridge was buried by the county to prevent collapse.) In 1909, Walter Sharp built the […]

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Construction

Segmental Arches

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 […]

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Construction

On Roman 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 […]