Monday, March 1, 2010

Bridge design time

In Cincinnati, there seems to be a discussion of what a new bridge over the Ohio River should look like. So far there are six design proposals -- one steel arch and five cable stay -- that are up for discussion.

As much as I like cable stay bridges, I must admit the arch design looks good to me. For one thing, the new bridge would be built next to an older steel truss bridge. From what I've seen from Flickr contact DewCon in La Crosse, Wisc., that arrangement looks mighty fine. Look at this photo and this one and this one and this one.

When I was in Japan nine years ago, I saw at least one cable stay bridge with slanted support towers. It did nothing for me.

The movers and shakers in the Cincinnati area want "an internationally acclaimed design" for their new bridge. If you read the comments section in the article, you'll see that some people don't care what the bridge looks like. They want something that's functional and will last a long time.

One more thing: The news article said the Ohio River at Cincinnati isn't wide enough to build a suspension bridge. I know of at least one suspension bridge over the Ohio -- the two-lane Simon Kenton Bridge at Maysville KY. And there used to be one at Portsmouth OH. I don't know if 

a) the designers didn't want to deal with a suspension bridge;

b) there isn't suitable anchorage on both shores for a suspension bridge in Cincinnati; or

c) a four-lane suspension bridge has a different set of design needs than a two-lane one

but there is at least one suspension bridge over the Ohio. I just wanted to get that in.