Arch Bridge Pros and Cons List

In ancient history, the Greeks and the Romans built the earliest arch bridges. They were beautiful and made of stone. Modern arch bridges are made of concrete, reinforced concrete or of steel. Though in some developing countries the ancient method of building the arch bridge is stone is still practiced. Arch bridges serve a greater purpose than to be pleasing to the eye; they have the ability to flex and transfer weight. They are a modern marvel.

Arch Bridge Pros

1. The curved structure allows resistance to bending forces.
When a car passes over a standard flat bridge the force is exerted into the middle of the stricter. Over time this weakens the bridge. An arch bridge is fixed on both ends in the horizontal direction. So when a car passes over an arch bridge the force is exerted to the ends of the bridge. The arch bridge is much more dependable and will last much longer.

2. A traditional bridge requires iron or steel to be produced.
An arch bridge can be made from any material that can hold up to compression. This makes an arch bridge the choice for developing countries that may not have iron or steel to manufacture a bridge easily.

3. An arch bridge is made to compress.
As it compresses it become stronger. Unlike a traditional bridge that weakens over time with each passing of a vehicle, an arch bridge actually becomes stronger.

4. An arch bridge will flex .
With high winds and even earth quakes to a major degree, arch bridges will flex without breaking.

Arch Bridge Cons

1. Arch bridges are limited to how long they can be.
This makes using them impossible in some situations all together. In other situations, in order to withstand the weight expected, more than one arch has to be built. In some cases that is not possible and adding extra loads becomes necessary. In situations such as these, the cost and work load becomes much greater. It requires much more time.

2. An arch bridge is a very precise undertaking.
It takes much more attention to detail and a significantly longer time frame to build an arch bridge than a traditional bridge.

3. Because the arch bridge flexes, mortar tends to crack in high winds.
An arch bridge requires constant maintenance and supervision. Neglect of this causes repairs that are very costly and very time consuming. Many people do not want to revisit a project that often for maintenance but it is essential in the building of an arch bridge. Funds for this type of repair are not always built into the project.

There are many good things and not so good things about the production of an arch bridge. Regardless there are situations where the arch bridge is the only bridge that makes sense and when that happens, the bridge is a work of art.