A Truss Bridge Can Easily Accommodate Dynamic Loads

Steel Truss Bridge

Truss bridges are one of the oldest bridge types in America. Photo credit US Bridge

Truss bridges are one of the oldest bridge types in America. They are used for a variety of reasons, mainly because they can easily accommodate dynamic loads. For rural highways over streams or railroads, a steel truss bridge provides a viable solution. Because of the arrangement of floor framing members connecting into truss elements, the bridge’s structural depth can be minimized as compared to under-deck girder systems.

A truss bridge’s load-bearing superstructure is composed of a truss, a structure of connected elements usually forming triangular units. The connected elements (typically straight) may be stressed from tension, compression, or sometimes both in response to dynamic loads.  A truss bridge is economical to construct because it uses materials efficiently. Truss bridge advantages include:

  • Economical To Build: The materials to build a truss bridge are minimal, and every single bit is used very efficiently. The strength comes when these materials are formed to the triangles.
  • Strong: The unique triangular design provides support for the entire bridge. This gives it great strength making it ideal for very high traffic and heavy load areas.
  • Built In Difficult Places: These types of bridges can be built across small or long spans while maintaining their strength. Virtually anywhere that a bridge is needed, a truss bridge can do the job.
  • Long Distance: A truss bridge can clear spans of up to 300’.  Due to transverse bracing, these bridges have a high span capability.

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