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Melbourne's Sandridge Bridge, a pedestrian footbridge across the Yarra River.

A footbridge or pedestrian bridge is a bridge designed for pedestrians and in some cases cyclists, animal traffic and horse riders, rather than vehicular traffic. In many developed countries, footbridges are both functional and can be beautiful works of art and sculpture. For poor rural communities in the developing world, a footbridge may be a community's only access to medical clinics, schools and markets, which would otherwise be unreachable when rivers are too high to cross. Simple suspension bridge designs have been developed to be sustainable and easily constructable in such rural areas using only local materials and labor.

An enclosed footbridge between two buildings is sometimes known as a skyway. Bridges providing for both pedestrians and cyclists are often referred to as greenbridges and form an important part of sustainable transport movement towards more sustainable cities. Footbridges are often situated to allow pedestrians to cross water or railways in areas where there are no nearby roads to necessitate a road bridge, They are also located across roads to let pedestrians cross safely without slowing down the traffic. The latter is a type of pedestrian separation structure, examples of which are particularly found near schools, to help prevent children running in front of moving cars.

Small footbridges can also be used for a technical effect in ornamental gardens.

Types of footbridge (which are not also types of road bridge) include:

BP Pedestrian Bridge is a concealed box girder beam bridge in Millennium Park with sculptural qualities.

Footbridges can also be built in the same ways as road or rail bridges; particularly suspension bridges and beam bridges. Some former road bridges have had their traffic diverted to alternative crossings and have become pedestrian bridges; examples in the UK include The Iron Bridge at Ironbridge, Shropshire, the Old Bridge at Pontypridd and Windsor Bridge at Windsor, Berkshire.

Most footbridges are equipped with guard rails to reduce the risk of pedestrians falling. Where they pass over busy roads or railways, they may also include a fence or other such barrier to prevent pedestrians from jumping, or throwing projectiles onto the traffic below.

Contents

Examples

The Poughkeepsie Bridge
Mid 20th-century view of the Bridge of Four Lions footbridge in St Petersburg, Russia.

The record for the longest footbridge in the world is claimed by the Poughkeepsie Bridge across the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, New York.[1] Originally built for trains, it was recently restored as a pedestrian walkway. The footbridge has a total length of 2082 meters (6,767 feet). However, the Hornibrook Bridge which crosses Bramble Bay in Queensland, Australia is longer than the Poughkeepsie Bridge. The 2.8km (1.7mi) long bridge was built to handle road traffic but now only allows pedestrians. Other examples include:

Railways

Jordanhill railway station, in Scotland, with two side platforms, and a footbridge connecting them.
Covered footbridge over the railway lines at Stroud, England

It was originally usual for passengers to cross from one railway platform to another by stepping over the tracks, but from the mid-nineteenth century onwards safety has demanded the provision of a footbridge (or underpass) at busier places.

Design

A stressed ribbon bridge for pedestrians, bicycles, and pipelines
This type is quite stable owing to compression of the deck

Design of footbridges normally follows the same principles as for other bridges. However, because they are normally significantly lighter than vehicular bridges, they are more vulnerable to vibration and therefore dynamics effects are often given more attention in design.[2] International attention has been drawn to this issue in recent years by problems on the Pont de Solférino in Paris and the Millennium Bridge in London.

Since the early 1980's, several charities have developed manualized footbridge designs that are sustainable for use in developing countries. The first charity to develop such standardized and manualized designs was Helvetas, located in Zurich, Switzerland. Their designs and many more such sustainable designs can be found and downloaded for free at the Bridges to Prosperity website, a Virginia USA based charity.[3]

Footbridge leading to the Tangipahoa

African American Heritage Museum across a tributary of the Ponchatoula Creek at Phoenix Square in Hammond, Louisiana.

To ensure footbridges are accessible to disabled and other mobility-impaired people, careful consideration is also given to provision of access lifts or ramps, as required by relevant legislation (e.g. Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in the UK).[2]

Catwalk

Narrow footbridges or walkways high in the air to allow workers access to parts of a structure otherwise difficult to reach are referred as catwalks or cat walks. Such catwalks are located above a stage (theater catwalk) in a theater, between parts of a building, cantilevered along the side of a bridge, on the outside of any large storage tank in a refinery or elsewhere etc. The walkway on the outside (top) of a railroad cars such as boxcars, before air brakes came into use, or on top of some covered hopper cars is also called a catwalk [4]. With the exception of those on top of railroad cars, catwalks are equipped with railings or handrails.

See also

References

  1. ^ "WALKWAY OPENS, THOUSANDS EXPLORE UNIQUE STATE PARK". Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York). October 3, 2009. http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091003/QUAD/91003006. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  2. ^ a b Schlaich, Mike, et al., Guidelines for the Design of Footbridges, International Federation for Structural Concrete, 2005, ISBN 2-88394-072-X
  3. ^ http://www.bridgestoprosperity.org
  4. ^ 1913 Webster's

How To Build a Footbridge

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