Every bridge project we ever do has its own interesting story. This story is about a gentleman who needed a bridge to access his man-made island so his daughter could have her wedding ceremony on the island. The interesting twist to this story is how his insistence on a certain bridge feature led to an innovation that is now an integral part of the Links Bridges’ menu offering.
The requirement was for a 35’ long simple arched bridge – The Woody – without the curbs. After checking several other options, the customer decided Links Bridges’ Woody was the best choice. When we provided the initial drawing set, he was surprised – and disappointed – to see that the bottom of the bridge beams were flat and it was only the deck and top of the beams that were arched.
That style of beam had been designed by our engineers as the optimal for structural qualities. It had always been in our plans to find the right formula to move to completely arched beams and we had already done a lot of the testing – just not enough to ‘finish the job’. This gentleman’s requirement for that feature was all the impetus that we needed to get moving.
Sophisticated fiberglass production requires the fabricator to design/engineer the style of structural cloths that will achieve the structural, tensile, flexibility and other qualities for the end product. Our engineers and technicians resumed their calculations and testing and actually came up with a formula for fully arched beams that even out-performed its ‘theoretical’ capacities.
We are extremely happy with the result and the nice clean look it gives the bridge. We are now incorporating this beam design into all of our arched bridges where the beam is visible. Besides what we think is a nicer ‘look’, this also provides the advantage of increased clearance in the event of minor flooding.
The ‘Wedding Bridge’ was delivered on time and installed by Links Bridges’ field team. There were happy endings all around.
I am sure that we can say confidently the buyer’s expectations were exceeded. Like all of our Woody-style bridges, they are 100% fiberglass but you really can’t tell them from ‘real’ wood. We even got a picture of the wedding party – a very good looking group.
Stay tuned for our continuing series of Bridge Stories. More to come…