Widening a Stone Arch Bridge

Stone bridges are, historically, built to a rather narrow width. While suitable for the horse-drawn traffic they were often designed for, narrow stone bridges can pose a bit of a problem in modern vehicle applications. Rather than demolish an existing stone bridge, widening the bridge can prove a helpful alternative. Widening a stone arch bridgeContinue reading “Widening a Stone Arch Bridge”

Advantages of Solid Backing for Arches

There are many advantages to using solid backing for arching in stone arch bridge construction. The “backing” is the fill or other material placed against the outside of an arch on the inside of a bridge. The backing may simply be fill such as dirt or gravel. Large rocks thrown in are better than justContinue reading “Advantages of Solid Backing for Arches”

A Cowley County Stone Arch Bridge Before Its Time: The Island Park Bridge

Cowley County, Kansas, is well known for its large stone arch bridges. The county began building stone arch bridges in 1901, after Walter Sharp made clear to the county board that quality stone arch bridges could be made at an affordable cost. The first bridge the county made was a single arch span over TimberContinue reading “A Cowley County Stone Arch Bridge Before Its Time: The Island Park Bridge”

Stone Arch Bridge Restoration and Pudden Bridge: Part 2

So how do you restore a stone arch bridge? In Part 1, using Pudden Bridge (Esch’s Spur Bridge) in Cowley County, Kansas, as our hypothetical example, we concluded that the partial demise of this massive structure’s middle arch was likely caused by breaking stones and deteriorating mortar joints. So now we will use this informationContinue reading “Stone Arch Bridge Restoration and Pudden Bridge: Part 2”

Building Mortarless Bridges

Mortarless bridges are more challenging to build than standard, mortared bridges. The Advantages of Mortared Masonry Mortared masonry is more forgiving then mortarless stonework — the mortar fills in the gaps between stones, forming custom-shaped stones that perfectly fit into the joints. This makes the mortared masonry very strong. Well-built mortared masonry also effectively sealsContinue reading “Building Mortarless Bridges”

A Stone Arch Bridge’s Weight-Handling Abilities

What factors determine the weight limit of a stone arch bridge? Arch Ring Thickness The primary factor in the weight limit of a stone bridge is how thick the arch is. Simply, the thicker the arch, the more weight a stone arch bridge can hold. Of course, there is a little more to it thanContinue reading “A Stone Arch Bridge’s Weight-Handling Abilities”

The Significance of the Fill Material in Stone Arch Bridges

Curiously enough, the fill material used to create a level surface for the roadbed of a stone arch bridge is a surprisingly important topic. The typical stone arch bridge consists of an arch resting on abutments (which may or may not extend up above the arch springing, depending on how much weight is required toContinue reading “The Significance of the Fill Material in Stone Arch Bridges”