American Society of Civil Engineers

Wind Loads for 19th Century Bridges: Design Evolution, Historic Failures, and Modern Preservation

by Frederick R. Rutz, P.E., M.ASCE, (Sr. Proj. Mgr., J.R. Harris and Co., 1776 Lincoln St., Ste. 1100, Denver, CO 80203-1080. E-mail: and Kevin L. Rens, P.E., M.ASCE, (Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Colorado at Denver, Campus Box 113, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364. E-mail:

Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, Vol. 21, No. 2, March/April 2007, pp. 157-165, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: This paper presents an historical survey of the basis for design wind pressure used by 19th and early 20th century engineers. Events significant to the development of current wind design standards for pedestrian bridges are explored. These include 19th century treatments of wind load, a review of bridge disasters that spurred new thinking, and historical developments of today’s standards.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Bridge failures
Wind loads