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European iron bridges in Puerto Rico: The example of the Guamaní bridge

Medium: Tagungsbeitrag
Sprache(n): en 
Tagung: 6th International Congress on Construction History (6ICCH 2018), July 9-13, 2018, Brussels, Belgium
Veröffentlicht in:
Seite(n): 1021-1027
Jahr: 2018
Abstrakt: Between 1850 and 1898, Spanish authorities in Puerto Rico began a modern system of highways designed for wheeled traffic. The island's creased geography necessitated many culverts and bridges; the need to expedite building, the scarcity of skilled labour and the short lifespan of timber made wrought iron an attractive option for bridges of at least ten-metre spans. Twenty-two such bridges were imported, all from France and (mostly) Belgium. Several structural types were used; lattice main beams were frequent because of their ease of transport and erection, and their “ornamental” qualities. The nineteen still existing may be the most important collection of French and Belgian iron bridges in the Western Hemisphere. The 1891 43-metre-long, double-span side-lattice beam bridge known as the Guamaní Bridge, near Guayama, is studied in greater detail as a case example of this type of structure as built, still performing over 125 years after its erection.



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