Beam bridge

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Beam bridge
Multispan plate girder bridge deck on concrete piers.
Multispan plate girder bridge deck on concrete piers.
Ancestor Log bridge
Descendant Box girder bridge, Plate girder bridge, trestle, truss bridge[citation needed]
Carries Pedestrians, automobiles, trucks, light rail, heavy rail
Span range Short
Material Timber, iron, steel, reinforced concrete, prestressed concrete
Movable No
Design effort Low
Falsework required No unless cast-in-place reinforced concrete is used

Beam bridges are the simplest structural forms for bridge spans supported by an abutment or pier at each end. No moments are transferred throughout the support, hence their structural type is known as simply supported.

The simplest beam bridge could be a stone slab or a wood plank laid across a stream. Bridges designed for modern infrastructure will usually be constructed of steel or reinforced concrete, or a combination of both. The concrete elements may be reinforced, prestressed or post-tensioned.

Types of construction could include having many beams side by side with a deck across the top of them, to a main beam either side supporting a deck between them. The main beams could be I-beams (also known as H-beams), trusses, or box girders. They could be half-through, or braced across the top to create a through bridge.

A footbridge using beams over a stream in Dordogne, France

Because no moments are transferred, thrust, as from an arch bridge, cannot be accommodated, so leading to innovative designs, such as lenticular trusses & bow string arches, which contain the horizontal forces within the superstructure.

Beam bridges are not limited to a single span. Some viaducts such as the Feiyunjiang Bridge in China have multiple simply supported spans supported by piers. This is opposed to viaducts using continuous spans over the piers.

Beam bridges are often only used for relatively short distances because, unlike truss bridges, they have no built in supports. The only supports are provided by piers.

These bridges can be two logs stretched across a backyard stream and have a long board that is put on top of the logs to make a bridge.

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