The anchor ties are connected to girders embedded in large concrete blocks in the foundations of the approach viaducts.

The two bascules are each constructed with four main girders. Over the river these are lattice girders, with transverse girders 12 ft. apart, and longitudinal and subsidiary transverse girders dividing the floor into rectangles 3 ft. by 3½ ft. covered with buckled plates. The roadway is of pine blocks dowelled. The bascules rotate through an angle of 82°, and their rear ends in the bascule chambers of the piers carry 365 tons of counterweight, the total weight of each being 1070 tons. They rotate on steel shafts 21 in. in diameter and 48 ft. long, and the bascules can be lifted or lowered in one minute, but usually the time taken is one and a half minutes. They are worked by hydraulic machinery.

9. (d) Iron and Steel Girder Bridges. - The main supporting members are two or more horizontal beams, girders or trusses. The girders carry a floor or platform either on top (deck bridges) or near the bottom (through bridges). The platform is variously constructed. For railway bridges it commonly consists of cross girders, attached to or resting on the main girders, and longitudinal rail girders or stringers carried by the cross girders and directly supporting the sleepers and rails. For spans over 75 ft., expansion due to change of temperature is provided for by carrying one end of each chain girder on rollers placed between the bearing-plate on the girder and the bed-plate on the pier or abutment.

Fig. 14 shows the roller bed of a girder of the Kuilenburg bridge of 490 ft. span. It will be seen that the girder directly rests on a cylindrical pin or rocker so placed as to distribute the load uniformly to all the rollers. The pressure on the rollers is limited to about p = 600 d in lb per in. length of roller, where d is the diameter of the roller in inches.

Fig. 14.  Roller Bed of a Girder. Fig. 14. - Roller Bed of a Girder.

In the girders of bridges the horizontal girder is almost exclusively subjected to vertical loading forces. Investigation of the internal stresses, which balance the external forces, shows that most of the material should be arranged in a top flange, boom or chord, subjected to compression, and a bottom flange or chord, subjected to tension. (See Strength of Materials.) Connecting the flanges is a vertical web which may be a solid plate or a system of bracing bars. In any case, though the exact form of cross section of girders varies very much, it is virtually an I section (fig. 15). The function of the flanges is to resist a horizontal tension and compression distributed practically uniformly on their cross sections. The web resists forces equivalent to a shear on vertical and horizontal planes. The inclined tensions and compressions in the bars of a braced web are equivalent to this shear. The horizontal stresses in the flanges are greatest at the centre of a span. The stresses in the web are greatest at the ends of the span. In the most numerous cases the flanges or chords are parallel.

But girders may have curved chords and then the stresses in the web are diminished.

Fig. 15.  Flanged Girder. Fig. 15. - Flanged Girder.

At first girders had solid or plate webs, but for spans over 100 ft. the web always now consists of bracing bars. In some girder bridges the members are connected entirely by riveting, in others the principal members are connected by pin joints. The pin system of connexion used in the Chepstow, Saltash, Newark Dyke and other early English bridges is now rarely used in Europe. But it is so commonly used in America as to be regarded as a distinctive American feature. With pin connexions some weight is saved in the girders, and erection is a little easier. In early pin bridges insufficient bearing area was allowed between the pins and parts connected, and they worked loose. In some cases riveted covers had to be substituted for the pins. The proportions are now better understood. Nevertheless the tendency is to use riveted connexions in preference to pins, and in any case to use pins for tension members only.

On the first English railways cast iron girder bridges for spans of 20 to 66 ft. were used, and in some cases these were trussed with wrought iron. When in 1845 the plans for carrying the Chester and Holyhead railway over the Menai Straits were considered, the conditions imposed by the admiralty in the interests of navigation involved the adoption of a new type of bridge. There was an idea of using suspension chains combined with a girder, and in fact the tower piers were built so as to accommodate chains. But the theory of such a combined structure could not be formulated at that time, and it was proved, partly by experiment, that a simple tubular girder of wrought iron was strong enough to carry the railway. The Britannia bridge (fig. 16) has two spans of 460 and two of 230 ft. at 104 ft. above high water. It consists of a pair of tubular girders with solid or plate sides stiffened by angle irons, one line of rails passing through each tube. Each girder is 1511 ft. long and weighs 4680 tons. In cross section (fig. 17), it is 15 ft. wide and varies in depth from 23 ft. at the ends to 30 ft. at the centre.

Partly to counteract any tendency to buckling under compression and partly for convenience in assembling a great mass of plates, the top and bottom were made cellular, the cells being just large enough to permit passage for painting. The total area of the cellular top flange of the large-span girders is 648 sq. in., and of the bottom 585 sq. in. As no scaffolding could be used for the centre spans, the girders were built on shore, floated out and raised by hydraulic presses. The credit for the success of the Conway and Britannia bridges must be divided between the engineers. Robert Stephenson and William Fairbairn, and Eaton Hodgkinson, who assisted in the experimental tests and in formulating the imperfect theory then available. The Conway bridge was first completed, and the first train passed through the Britannia bridge in 1850. Though each girder has been made continuous over the four spans it has not quite the proportions over the piers which a continuous girder should have, and must be regarded as an imperfectly continuous girder. The spans were in fact designed as independent girders, the advantage of continuity being at that time imperfectly known. The vertical sides of the girders are stiffened so that they amount to 40% of the whole weight.