In 1869 a bridge of 390 ft. span was built on this system at Louisville.
Amongst remarkable American girder bridges may be mentioned the Ohio bridge on the Cincinnati & Covington railway, which is probably the largest girder span constructed. The centre span is 550 ft. and the side spans 490 ft. - centre to centre of piers. The girders are independent polygonal girders. The centre girder has a length of 545 ft. and a depth of 84 ft. between pin centres. It is 67 ft. between parapets, and carries two lines of railway, two carriageways, and two footways. The cross girders, stringers and wind-bracing are wrought iron, the rest of mild steel. The bridge was constructed in 1888 by the Phoenix Bridge Company, and was erected on staging. The total weight of iron and steel in three spans was about 5000 tons.Fig. 21. - Typical Cantilever Bridge. Fig. 22.
10. (e) Cantilever Bridges. - It has been stated that if in a girder bridge of three or more spans, the girders were made continuous there would be an important economy of material, but that the danger of settlement of the supports, which would seriously alter the points of contrary flexure or points where the bending moment changes sign, and therefore the magnitude and distribution of the stresses, generally prevents the adoption of continuity. If, however, hinges or joints are introduced at the points of contrary flexure, they become necessarily points where the bending moment is zero and ambiguity as to the stresses vanishes. The exceptional local conditions at the site of the Forth bridge led to the adoption there of the cantilever system, till then little considered. Now it is well understood that in many positions this system is the simplest and most economical method of bridging. It is available for spans greater than those practicable with independent girders; in fact, on this system the spans are virtually reduced to smaller spans so far as the stresses are concerned. There is another advantage which in many cases is of the highest importance.
The cantilevers can be built out from the piers, member by member, without any temporary scaffolding below, so that navigation is not interrupted, the cost of scaffolding is saved, and the difficulty of building in deep water is obviated. The centre girder may be built on the cantilevers and rolled into place or lifted from the water-level. Fig. 21 shows a typical cantilever bridge of American design. In this case the shore ends of the cantilevers are anchored to the abutments. J.A.L. Waddell has shown that, in some cases, it is convenient to erect simple independent spans, by building them out as cantilevers and converting them into independent girders after erection. Fig. 22 shows girders erected in this way, the dotted lines being temporary members during erection, which are removed afterwards. The side spans are erected first on staging and anchored to the piers. From these, by the aid of the temporary members, the centre span is built out from both sides. The most important cantilever bridges so far erected or projected are as follows: -Fig. 23. - Forth Bridge.
(1) The Forth bridge (fig. 23). The original design was for a stiffened suspension bridge, but after the fall of the Tay bridge in 1879 this was abandoned. The bridge, which was begun in 1882 and completed in 1889, is at the only narrowing of the Forth in a distance of 50 m., at a point where the channel, about a mile in width, is divided by the island of Inchgarvie. The length of the cantilever bridge is 5330 ft., made up thus: central tower on Inchgarvie 260 ft.; Fife and Queensferry piers each 145 ft.; two central girders between cantilevers each 350 ft.; and six cantilevers each 680 ft. The two main spans are each 1710 ft. The clear headway is 157 ft., and the extreme height of the towers above high water 361 ft. The outer ends of the shore cantilevers are loaded to balance half the weight of the central girder, the rolling load, and 200 tons in addition. An internal viaduct of lattice girders carries a double line of rails. Provision is made for longitudinal expansion due to change of temperature, for distortion due to the sun acting on one side of the structure, and for the wind acting on one side of the bridge.
The amount of steel used was 38,000 tons exclusive of approach viaducts. (See The Forth Bridge, by W. Westhofen; Reports of the British Association (1884 and 1885); Die Forth Brücke, von G. Barkhausen (Berlin, 1889); The Forth Bridge, by Philip Phillips (1890); Vernon Harcourt, Proc. Inst. C.E. cxxi. p. 309.)
(2) The Niagara bridge of a total length of 910 ft., for two lines of railway. Clear span between towers 495 ft. Completed in 1883, and more recently strengthened (Proc. Inst. C.E. cvii. p. 18, and cxliv. p. 331).Fig. 24. - Lansdowne Bridge.
(3) The Lansdowne bridge (completed 1889) at Sukkur, over the Indus. The clear span is 790 ft., and the suspended girder 200 ft. in length. The span to the centres of the end uprights is 820 ft.; width between centres of main uprights at bed-plate 100 ft., and between centres of main members at end of cantilevers 20 ft. The bridge is for a single line of railway of 5 ft. 6 in. gauge. The back guys are the most heavily strained part of the structure, the stress provided for being 1200 tons. This is due to the half weight of centre girder, the weight of the cantilever itself, the rolling load on half the bridge, and the wind pressure. The anchors are built up of steel plates and angle, bars, and are buried in a large mass of concrete. The area of each anchor plate, normal to the line of stress, is 32 ft. by 12 ft. The bridge was designed by Sir A. Rendel, the consulting engineer to the Indian government (Proc. Inst. C.E. ciii. p. 123).