Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ryan on the Triana Bridge

Thanks to Dr. Oler and our wonderful Statics class in Sevilla, my classmates and I got to participate in the famous bridge tour of the Guadalquivir River. Our tour consisted of 3 amazing bridges, but the bridge I found the most interesting was the Puente de Triana, or the Triana Bridge, because of its rich history and unconventional design.

The bridge is made out of 3 sections each consisting of 5 arches with 12 circles on each arch. If you do the math, that is 180 circles. Normally, building a bridge with circles is not a good idea, but when 4 opposing forces are combined against each other, like in this bridge, the circles can hold their shape. The forces keep the circle rigid and strong and keep the shape from buckling. It is amazing how the repeated circles can create such a strong structure that has held up for so many years. Dr. Oler talked to us about this peculiar bridge and explained to us the ideas behind its design and construction.

The bridge was originally known as Queen Isabel II’s bridge and was designed by the French engineers Gustave Steinacher and Ferdinand Bernadet after the Carrousel Bridge in Paris, which is no longer standing. Work began in 1845 and it was opened on February 23, 1852 replacing the old barge bridge that was constructed by the Arabs in the late 12th century. This was a very important improvement from the old style barge bridge since this was the first bridge that spanned the Guadalquivir river coming from the Atlantic over 200km away. In 1974 plans to replace it with a more modern design where struck down by the Sevilla citizens and in April 1976 it became a National Heritage Historic Monument in Spain. It is now an ever enduring landmark in Sevilla and Triana and a great example of early statics!

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