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Navigable aqueduct

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Narrowboat crossing the World Heritage Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales

Navigable aqueducts (sometimes called navigable water bridges) are bridge structures that carry navigable waterway canals over other rivers, valleys, railways or roads. They are primarily distinguished by their size, carrying a larger cross-section of water than most water-supply aqueducts. Roman aqueducts were used to transport water and were created in Ancient Rome. The 662-metre (2,172 ft) long steel Briare aqueduct carrying the Canal latéral à la Loire over the River Loire was built in 1896. It was ranked as the longest navigable aqueduct in the world for more than a century, until the Magdeburg Water Bridge in Germany took the title in the early 21st century.

Early aqueducts such as the three on the Canal du Midi had stone or brick arches, the longest span being 18.3 metres (60 ft) on the Cesse Aqueduct, built in 1690. But, the weight of the construction to support the trough with the clay or other lining to make it waterproof made these structures clumsy. In 1796 Longdon-on-Tern Aqueduct, the first large cast iron aqueduct was built by Thomas Telford at Longdon-on-Tern on the Shrewsbury Canal. It has a total length of 57 metres (187 ft) across three intermediate piers. Within ten years Telford had completed the far more ambitious Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wales on the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee valley, with a total length 307 metres and a height of 38 metres, making it the tallest navigable aqueduct in the world. Other cast-iron aqueducts followed, such as the single-span Stanley Ferry Aqueduct on the Calder and Hebble Navigation in 1839, with its innovative 50-metre (160 ft) through arch design.

There were 32 navigable aqueducts on the Erie Canal, constructed 1817–1825 in New York State, United States.

Notable navigable aqueducts[edit]

Out-of-use cast-iron Longdon-on-Tern Aqueduct
The Magdeburg Water Bridge seen from the shores of the Elbe


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Meet One of the World's Most Unique Waterways: The Veluwemeer Aqueduct". 3 April 2021.