The bridge with its platform is suspended from girders above by chains and counterweights at the four corners (fig. 33 a). It is lifted vertically to the required height when opened. Bridges of this type are not very numerous or important.
The girders are longer than the span and the part overhanging the abutment is counter-weighted so that the centre of gravity is over the abutment when the bridge is rolled forward (fig. 33 b). To fill the gap in the approaches when the bridge is rolled forward a frame carrying that part of the road is moved into place sideways. At Sunderland, the bridge is first lifted by a hydraulic press so as to clear the roadway behind, and is then rolled back.
The fortress draw-bridge is the original type, in which a single leaf, or bascule, turns round a horizontal hinge at one abutment. The bridge when closed is supported on abutments at each end. It is raised by chains and counterweights. A more common type is a bridge with two leaves or bascules, one hinged at each abutment. When closed the bascules are locked at the centre (see fig. 13). In these bridges each bascule is prolonged backwards beyond the hinge so as to balance at the hinge, the prolongation sinking into the piers when the bridge is opened.
The largest movable bridges revolve about a vertical axis. The bridge is carried on a circular base plate with a central pivot and a circular track for a live ring and conical rollers. A circular revolving platform rests on the pivot and rollers. A toothed arc fixed to the revolving platform or to the live ring serves to give motion to the bridge. The main girders rest on the revolving platform, and the ends of the bridge are circular arcs fitting the fixed roadway. Three arrangements are found: (a) the axis of rotation is on a pier at the centre of the river and the bridge is equal armed (fig. 33 c), so that two navigation passages are opened simultaneously. (b) The axis of rotation is on one abutment, and the bridge is then usually unequal armed (fig. 33 d), the shorter arm being over the land. (c) In some small bridges the shorter arm is vertical and the bridge turns on a kind of vertical crane post at the abutment (fig. 33 e).
(5) Floating Bridges, the roadway being carried on pontoons moored in the stream.
The movable bridge in its closed position must be proportioned like a fixed bridge, but it has also other conditions to fulfil. If it revolves about a vertical axis its centre of gravity must always lie in that axis; if it rolls the centre of gravity must always lie over the abutment. It must have strength to support safely its own overhanging weight when moving.
At Konigsberg there is a road bridge of two fixed spans of 39 ft., and a central span of 60 ft. between bearings, or 41 ft. clear, with balanced bascules over the centre span. Each bascule consists of two main girders with cross girders and stringers. The main girders are hung at each side on a horizontal shaft 8⅝ in. in diameter, and are 6 ft. deep at the hinge, diminishing to 1 ft. 7 in. at the centre of the span. The counterweight is a depressed cantilever arm 12 ft. long, overlapped by the fixed platform which sinks into a recess in the masonry when the bridge opens. In closed position the main girders rest on a bed plate on the face of the pier 4 ft. 3 in. beyond the shaft bearings. The bridge is worked by hydraulic power, an accumulator with a load of 34 tons supplying pressure water at 630 lb per sq. in. The bridge opens in 15 seconds and closes in 25 seconds.
At the opening span of the Tower bridge (fig. 13) there are four main girders in each bascule. They project 100 ft. beyond and 62 ft. 6 in. within the face of the piers. Transverse girders and bracings are inserted between the main girders at 12 ft. intervals. The floor is of buckled plates paved with wood blocks. The arc of rotation is 82°, and the axis of rotation is 13 ft. 3 in. inside the face of the piers, and 5 ft. 7 in. below the roadway. The weight of ballast in the short arms of the bascules is 365 tons. The weight of each leaf including ballast is about 1070 tons. The axis is of forged steel 21 in. in diameter and 48 ft. long. The axis has eight bearings, consisting of rings of live rollers 4-7/16 in. in diameter and 22 in. long. The bascules are rotated by pinions driven by hydraulic engines working in steel sectors 42 ft. radius (Proc. Inst. C.E. cxxvii. p. 35).
As an example of a swing bridge, that between Duluth and Superior at the head of Lake Superior over the St Louis river may be described. The centre opening is 500 ft., spanned by a turning bridge, 58 ft. wide. The girders weighing 2000 tons carry a double track for trains between the girders and on each side on cantilevers a trolley track, roadway and footway. The bridge can be opened in 2 minutes, and is operated by two large electric motors. These have a speed reduction from armature shaft to bridge column of 1500 to 1, through four intermediate spur gears and a worm gear. The end lifts which transfer the weight of the bridge to the piers when the span is closed consist of massive eccentrics having a throw of 4 in. The clearance is 2 in., so that the ends are lifted 2 in. This gives a load of 50 tons per eccentric. One motor is placed at each end of the span to operate the eccentrics and also to release the latches and raise the rails of the steam track.
At Riga there is a floating pontoon bridge over the Duna. It consists of fourteen rafts, 105 ft. in length, each supported by two pontoons placed 64 ft. apart. The pairs of rafts are joined by three baulks 15 ft. long laid in parallel grooves in the framing. Two spans are arranged for opening easily. The total length is 1720 ft. and the width 46 ft. The pontoons are of iron, 85&FRAC12; ft. in length, and their section is elliptical, 10&FRAC12; ft. horizontal and 12 ft. vertical. The displacement of each pontoon is 180 tons and its weight 22 tons. The mooring chains, weighing 22 lb per ft., are taken from the upstream end of each pontoon to a downstream screw pile mooring and from the downstream end to an upstream screw pile.
13. Transporter Bridges. - This new type of bridge consists of a high level bridge from which is suspended a car at a low level. The car receives the traffic and conveys it across the river, being caused to travel by electric machinery on the high level bridge. Bridges of this type have been erected at Portugalete, Bizerta, Rouen, Rochefort and more recently across the Mersey between the towns of Widnes and Runcorn.Fig. 34. - Widnes and Runcorn Transporter Bridge.
The Runcorn bridge crosses the Manchester Ship Canal and the Mersey in one span of 1000 ft., and four approach spans of 55&FRAC12; ft. on one side and one span on the other. The low-level approach roadways are 35 ft. wide with footpaths 6 ft. wide on each side. The supporting structure is a cable suspension bridge with stiffening girders. A car is suspended from the bridge, carried by a trolley running on the underside of the stiffening girders, the car being propelled electrically from one side to the other. The underside of the stiffening girder is 82 ft. above the river. The car is 55 ft. long by 24&FRAC12; ft. wide. The electric motors are under the control of the driver in a cabin on the car. The trolley is an articulated frame 77 ft. long in five sections coupled together with pins. To this are fixed the bearings of the running wheels, fourteen on each side. There are two steel-clad series-wound motors of 36 B.H.P. For a test load of 120 tons the tractive force is 70 lb per ton, which is sufficient for acceleration, and maintaining speed against wind pressure. The brakes are magnetic, with auxiliary handbrakes.
Electricity is obtained by two gas engines (one spare) each of 75 B.H.P.
On the opening day passengers were taken across at the rate of more than 2000 per hour in addition to a number of vehicles. The time of crossing is 3 or 4 minutes. The total cost of the structure was £133,000.
14. In the United States few railway companies design or build their own bridges. General specifications as to span, loading, etc., are furnished to bridge-building companies, which make the design under the direction of engineers who are experts in this kind of work. The design, with strain sheets and detail drawings, is submitted to the railway engineer with estimates. The result is that American bridges are generally of well-settled types and their members of uniform design, carefully considered with reference to convenient and accurate manufacture. Standard patterns of details are largely adopted, and more system is introduced in the workshop than is possible where the designs are more varied. Riveted plate girders are used up to 50 ft. span, riveted braced girders for spans of 50 ft. to 75 ft., and pin-connected girders for longer spans. Since the erection of the Forth bridge, cantilever bridges have been extensively used, and some remarkable steel arch and suspension bridges have also been constructed.
Overhead railways are virtually continuous bridge constructions, and much attention has been given to a study of the special conditions appertaining to that case.