‘Infrastructure’ Tag

Roller Support

Photo Credit: Karl Jansen

This is a roller support. It is one of the most common types of structural supports used by civil engineers. This roller support allows for the supported structure to move horizontally, while the upward reaction force prevents the structure from falling down. The single reaction force is always perpendicular to the surface and in the direction away from that surface (normal). This type of support is often found at one end of a long bridge, allowing the bridge to expand and shrink with the natural temperature changes.

Pedestrian Bridge over Highway

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here is a pedestrian bridge over I-75 in Detroit, Michigan. This type of bridge is important because it allows pedestrians to cross to the other side of the freeway without crossing on the road level or having to go to the nearest street crossing bridge. When new highways are being planned and approved features such as pedestrian bridges and sound barriers are many times included. These features are aimed at local people near the project to allow them to live and work near such highways as comfortably as possible.

Stalled Bridge Project

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen here is the end of the Ambassador Bridge that extends from Detroit, MI, USA to Windsor, Ontario, Canada over the Detroit River. This particular picture is of the ramp up to a proposed second crossing. However, the permits were not issued and the project was therefore halted and now stands with a drop off to nowhere. The lesson from this is quite straight forward: get your permits before you start the project or you may end up with a useless piece of infrastructure.

Operational Fire Hydrant

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Seen above is a fire hydrant dispelling what we all hope is there; water. A comforting feeling seems to come when we actually see that water does in fact come out of these commonly overlooked pieces of the built environment. Civil engineers have spent over a century constructing the infrastructure that makes fire hydrants such as this one work. Today this work continues as civil engineers of today strive to update our infrastructure to ever increasing standards of excellence.

Bridge Week!: Lift Bridge

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

This is the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, officially the Houghton–Hancock Bridge, in Houghton, Michigan. This bridge connects the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the Keweenaw Peninsula, which today is technically the Keweenaw Island due to a man made shipping canal. The lift bridge is the widest and heaviest double-decked lift bridge in the world, capable of elevating to a water clearance height of 100 feet!

Bridge Week!: I-94 Bridge over Telegraph Road – Steel Arch

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

This is the I-94, Telegraph Road Bridge near Detroit, Michigan. This seemly out of place bridge is needed to span over Telegraph road to allow for unobstructed traffic flow beneath I-94. This bridge uses a combination of steel arches and tension cables to carry the load of the deck and passing traffic. The road deck takes load to the cables, which are hung from the steel arches. These steel arches then finish the load path by bringing the load to the ground. If you look on the right side of the picture, the top of the foundation of the bridge can be seen where the blue arch contacts the ground.

Highway Bridge over River

Photo Credit: Nathan Shoemaker

Seen here is a night photograph of the I-196 crossing of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This highway is a major artery through the city and carries many cars and trucks from the west coast of Michigan to the metropolitan area of Detroit via Grand Rapids.

Pedestrian Bridge

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

The bridge you are looking at is a purely pedestrian bridge for crossing the Grand River. As is obvious by the snow on the ground and ice build up near the piers this photograph was taken in the winter. Bridges like this one must therefore be very resilient against the forces of not only the water flowing in the river but also against the destructive forces of ice.

Truss Bridge

Photo Credit: Alex Mead

Pictured above is the Sixth Street Bridge in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It spans the Grand River and was built in 1886 using wrought iron. The bridge is made up of four Pratt trusses on stone piers and is the longest and oldest metal bridge in Michigan. When this bridge was built it cost a whopping $31,000!