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Forth Bridge a vindication of sustainable design

Posted on by in Weekly News

Forth-bridge150305The 125th anniversary of the iconic Forth Rail Bridge – the first major bridge built from steel – is being marked by a range of events and publications this week, including a flypast of a Spitfire and a Typhoon as well as other celebrations.

The IStructE magazine The Structural Engineer has marked the occasion with a two part article on major developments in steel bridge building in Britain in its March issue.

The Forth’s cantilever design was, at 2.5 kilometres, the longest spanning railway bridge in the world when it opened in 1890. Some 51,000t of steel was used for the superstructure along with almost seven million rivets in the construction of the bridge, designed by Sir Benjamin Baker assisted by Sir John Fowler.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is holding an online exhibition to mark the anniversary using images from its archives that can be viewed at ICE historical engineering works panel chair Gordon Masterton said: “The Forth Bridge is one of the world’s supreme engineering achievements. It epitomises the ‘can do’ ethos of the high Victorian age with its genesis in the industrial revolution. The fact that it was successfully built over 125 years ago and is still in service is a stunning vindication of sustainable design.”

The adjacent Forth Road Bridge, another world famous triumph for steel, celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.  Both bridges feature in Alan Hayward’s article in the Structural Engineer, a two part survey of steel bridges since the Forth Bridge was built. The article is based on Mr Hayward’s James Sutherland History Lecture 2015, with the first part focused on the period to 1970.

Moveable, suspension and cable-stayed bridges all feature in Mr Hayward’s review of steel bridge design and construction developments.

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