Bridge designs are numerous and can be classified by their shape, structure, type of use, popularity, etc. Different scholars provide their own lists: Sometimes, certain types are united into one category or separated (Chen and Duan 20). The major applications of all bridge designs include carrying (Shah 32):
- car and truck traffic across land and water;
- light and heavy rails;
In order to perform these functions, several major designs have been developed (Barker and Puckett 55-59):
- Arch bridges: This type features an arch below the bridge as the major structural element. As far as its application is concerned, these are typically car traffic, pedestrian, or viaduct bridges.
- Beam bridges: These constructions are supported by several beams that can be shaped differently and be of different sizes. They are used for carrying pedestrians, cars, light and heavy rails.
- Truss bridges: One of the most popular designs having diagonal posts above the bridge (king or queen posts). This design is used for building a pedestrian, car, pipelines, or train bridge.
- Cantilever bridges (sometimes referred to arch, truss or beam bridges): This type is basically the same as an arch bridge but features diagonal bracing instead of a vertical one. Such bridges carry pedestrians, cars, and any type of rails.
- Rigid-Frame bridges: These bridges are monolithically connected to superstructures to provide structural benefits. They are used to carry heavy rails and trucks.
- Suspension bridges: The weight of such constructions are held by ropes or cables from the vertical suspender that allows making the bridge lighter and carrying not only pedestrians but also car traffic.
- Cable-stayed bridges: This type uses cables, too, but they are connected to a vertical column (to one or several points of it). They can be used to carry pedestrians, cars, and rails.
Barker, Richard M., and Jay A. Puckett. Design of Highway Bridges: An LRFD Approach. John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
Chen, Wai-Fah, and Lian Duan. Bridge Engineering Handbook: Superstructure Design. CRC press, 2014.
Sampaio, Alcínia Z., and Octávio P. Martins. “The Application of Virtual Reality Technology in the Construction of Bridge: The Cantilever and Incremental Launching Methods.” Automation in Construction, vol. 37, no. 1, 2014, pp. 58-67.
Shah, Ramesh. Bridge Engineering. Venus Books, 2014.