Arch Bridges

[Pedestrians - yes, road - yes, rail - yes]

Bridges using arches were built as long ago as 3200 B.C. by the Sumerians. It was the Romans who first built arch bridges to Britain.

As more roads were built bridge design improved. Basing an arch on a segment of a circle allowed a greater span. Victorian railway builders made great use of arches. They often linked many arches together to form a long viaduct.

Stainforth Packhorse Bridge, North Yorkshire. The first bridge on this site was built in the 1670s

Advantages of arch bridges

Ashness Bridge in the English Lake District. This is one of the most photographed bridges in Britain

Disadvantages of arch bridges:

Top left: packhorse bridge, Wycoller, Lancashire.
Top right: Berwick Bridge, Berwick upon Tweed, Northumbria.
Bottom:  Welland Viaduct, Northamptonshire. This is the longest masonry viaduct in Britain.


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