Cable-Stayed Versus Classical Suspension Bridge

by Walter Podolny, Jr., (M.ASCE), Struct. Engr.; Bridge Div., Office of Engrg., Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Washington, D.C.,

Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1976, Vol. 102, Issue 2, Pg. 291-311

Document Type: Journal Paper


The development of cable-stayed bridges is traced back to the 1600's. The cable-stayed bridge is a new type of bridge concept that has just started to attract the attention of bridge engineers in the United States. A comparative study of existing bridges has shown that cable-stayed bridges have a definite place in the economical design of bridges for intermediate spans and challenge the supremacy of the conventional suspension bridge in the long-span range. A comparison between classical suspension and cable-stayed is presented on the basis of stiffness, optimization of cable-weight, and aerodynamics. A general conclusion is stated that a cable-stayed system is stiffer and more economical than a suspension system of comparable span. Wind effects have been investigated very thoroughly for suspension bridges and such analysis is also required for cable-stayed bridges. It is indicated that because of inherent system stiffness and damping, the cable-stayed system is not as sensitive to wind oscillation as a conventional suspension system.

Subject Headings: Cable stayed bridges | Cables | Suspension bridges | Bridge design | Span bridges | Comparative studies | Economic factors | Stiffening | United States

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