Causeway

Last updated
Causeway
Hindenburgdamm.jpg
AncestorNone. (See Ford (crossing))
RelatedNone. (See Step-stone bridge)
DescendantNone. (See Viaduct)
Carries Traffic, Rail, Cyclists, Pedestrians
MaterialConcrete, Masonry, Earth-fill
MovableNo
Design effortmedium
Falsework requiredNo

A causeway is a track, road or railway on the upper point of an embankment across "a low, or wet place, or piece of water". [1] It can be constructed of earth, masonry, wood, or concrete. One of the earliest known wooden causeways is the Sweet Track in the Somerset Levels, England, which dates from the Neolithic age. [2] Timber causeways may also be described as both boardwalks and bridges.

Contents

Etymology

When first used, the word causeway appeared in a form such as "causey way" making clear its derivation from the earlier form "causey". This word seems to have come from the same source by two different routes. It derives ultimately, from the Latin for heel, calx, and most likely comes from the trampling technique to consolidate earthworks.

Originally, the construction of a causeway utilised earth that had been trodden upon to compact and harden it as much as possible, one layer at a time, often by slaves or flocks of sheep. Today, this work is done by machines. The same technique would have been used for road embankments, raised river banks, sea banks and fortification earthworks.

The second derivation route is simply the hard, trodden surface of a path. The name by this route came to be applied to any firmly-surfaced road. It is now little-used except in dialect and in the names of roads which were originally notable for their solidly-made surface. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica states "causey, a mound or dam, which is derived, through the Norman-French caucie (cf. modern chaussée), [3] from the late Latin via calciata, a road stamped firm with the feet (calcare, to tread)." [4]

The word is comparable in both meanings with the French chaussée , from a form of which it reached English by way of Norman French. The French adjective, chaussée, carries the meaning of having been given a hardened surface, and is used to mean either paved or shod. As a noun chaussée is used on the one hand for a metalled carriageway, and on the other for an embankment with or without a road.

Other languages have a noun with similar dual meaning. In Welsh, it is sarn. The Welsh is relevant here, as it also has a verb, sarnu, meaning to trample. The trampling and ramming technique for consolidating earthworks was used in fortifications and there is a comparable, outmoded form of wall construction technique, used in such work and known as pisé, a word derived not from trampling but from ramming or tamping. The Welsh word cawsai translates directly to the English word 'causeway'; it is possible that, with Welsh being a lineal linguistic descendant of the original native British tongues, the English word derives from the Welsh.[ citation needed ]

A transport corridor that is carried instead on a series of arches, perhaps approaching a bridge, is a viaduct; a short stretch of viaduct is called an overpass. The distinction between the terms causeway and viaduct becomes blurred when flood-relief culverts are incorporated, though generally a causeway refers to a roadway supported mostly by earth or stone, while a bridge supports a roadway between piers (which may be embedded in embankments). Some low causeways across shore waters become inaccessible when covered at high tide.

History

The Aztec city-state of Tenochtitlan had causeways supporting roads and aqueducts. One of the oldest engineered roads yet discovered is the Sweet Track in England. Built in 3807 or 3806 BC, [5] the track was a walkway consisting mainly of planks of oak laid end-to-end, supported by crossed pegs of ash, oak, and lime, driven into the underlying peat.

In East Africa, the Husuni Kubwa (the "Great Fort"), situated outside the town of Kilwa, was an early 14th-century sultan's palace and emporium that contained causeways and platforms at the entrance of the Harbour made from blocks of reef and coral nearly a meter high. These acted as breakwaters, allowing mangroves to grow which is one of the ways the breakwater can be spotted from a distance. Some parts of the causeway are made from the bedrock, but usually the bedrock was used as a base. Coral stone was also used to build up the causeways, with sand and lime being used to cement the cobbles together. However, some of the stones were left loose. [6]

Engineering

Diagram showing how the Wendover Cut-off in Utah was built across salt flats in the early 1920s Wendover Cut-off construction.png
Diagram showing how the Wendover Cut-off in Utah was built across salt flats in the early 1920s

The modern embankment may be constructed within a cofferdam : two parallel steel sheet pile or concrete retaining walls, anchored to each other with steel cables or rods. This construction may also serve as a dyke that keeps two bodies of water apart, such as bodies with a different water level on each side, or with salt water on one side and fresh water on the other. This may also be the primary purpose of a structure, the road providing a hardened crest for the dike, slowing erosion in the event of an overflow. It also provides access for maintenance as well perhaps, as a public service.

Examples

Kaichu Doro in Uruma, Okinawa-Honto, the main island of the Ryukyu Islands in Japan. Uruma Kaichu Doro.jpg
Kaichu Doro in Uruma, Okinawa-Honto, the main island of the Ryukyu Islands in Japan.

Notable causeways include those that connect Singapore and Malaysia (the Johor-Singapore Causeway), Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (25-km long King Fahd Causeway) and Venice to the mainland, all of which carry roadways and railways. In the Netherlands there are a number of prominent dikes which also double as causeways, including the Afsluitdijk, Brouwersdam, and Markerwaarddijk. In Louisiana, two very long bridges, called the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, stretch across Lake Pontchartrain for almost 38 km, making them the world's longest bridges[ citation needed ] (if total length is considered instead of span length). They are also the oldest causeways on the Gulf Coast that have never been put out of commission for an extended period of time following a hurricane. In the Republic of Panama a causeway connects the islands of Perico, Flamenco, and Naos to Panama City on the mainland. It also serves as a breakwater for ships entering the Panama Canal.

Causeways are also common in Florida, where low bridges may connect several man-made islands, often with a much higher bridge (or part of a single bridge) in the middle so that taller boats may pass underneath safely. Causeways are most often used to connect the barrier islands with the mainland. In the case of the Courtney Campbell Causeway, however, the mainland (Hillsborough County) is connected by a causeway to a peninsula (Pinellas County).

The Churchill Barriers in Orkney are some of the most notable sets of causeways in Europe. Constructed in waters up to 18 metres deep, the four barriers link five islands on the eastern side of the natural harbour at Scapa Flow. They were built during World War II as military defences for the harbour, on the orders of Winston Churchill.

The Estrada do Istmo connecting the islands of Taipa and Coloane in Macau was initially built as a causeway. The sea on both sides of the causeway then became shallower as a result of silting, and mangroves began to conquer the area. Later, land reclamation took place on both sides of the road and the area has subsequently been named Cotai and become home to several casino complexes.

Specific causeways around the world

Various causeways in the world:

Precautions

Causeways affect currents and may therefore be involved in beach erosion or changed deposition patterns; this effect has been a problem at the Hindenburgdamm in northern Germany. Unlike tunnels or bridges, causeways do not permit shipping through the strait which can cause problems. In some cases, causeways were built with "gates" or other facilities to permit shipping to pass through. During hurricane seasons, the winds and rains of approaching tropical storms—as well as waves generated by the storm in the surrounding bodies of water—make traversing causeways problematic at best and impossibly dangerous during the fiercest parts of the storms. For this reason (and related reasons, such as the need to minimize traffic jams on both the roads approaching the causeway and the causeway itself), emergency evacuation of island residents is a high priority for local, regional, and even national authorities.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Straits of Johor Strait in Southeast Asia

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Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Parallel bridges in Louisiana, United States

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Geography of Singapore

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King Fahd Causeway

The King Fahd Causeway is a series of bridges and causeways connecting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. At 25 km, the western terminus of the causeway is the al-Khour neighbourhood of Khobar, Saudi Arabia and the eastern terminus is Al Jasra, Bahrain.

Gulf of Bahrain Inlet in the Persian Gulf

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Johor–Singapore Causeway Border connection between Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore

The Johor–Singapore Causeway is a 1.056 kilometres causeway consisting of a combined railway and motorway bridge that links the city of Johor Bahru in Malaysia across the Straits of Johor to the district and town of Woodlands in Singapore. Historically, it was the only land connection between the two countries until the opening of the Tuas Second Link in 1998.

MacArthur Causeway Bridge in Florida, United States of America

The General Douglas MacArthur Causeway is a six-lane causeway which connects downtown Miami, Florida to South Beach, Miami Beach via Biscayne Bay.

Southern Integrated Gateway Land border control in Johor, Malaysia

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Mahim Causeway

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A causeway is a road or railway elevated by a bank, usually across a broad body of water or wetland.

Hindenburgdamm

The Hindenburgdamm or Hindenburg Dam is an 11 km-long causeway joining the North Frisian island of Sylt to mainland Schleswig-Holstein. Its coordinates are 54°53′N8°33′E. It was opened on 1 June 1927 and is exclusively a railway corridor. The companies that built the Hindenburgdamm, a job that took four years, were Philipp Holzmann AG of Frankfurt, working from the mainland, and Peter Fix Söhne of Duisburg working from Sylt. A train trip along the causeway takes about 10 minutes, and the time between the auto terminals at Niebüll on the mainland and Westerland on Sylt is about 30 minutes. The Hindenburgdamm is part of the railway line known as the Marschbahn, which is double-tracked along much of the route, although there as yet exists a single-tracked stretch. On the causeway is a signal box.

NASA Causeway Bridge in Florida, United States of America

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Serangoon Harbour

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Klanxbüll Place in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

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A fixed link or fixed crossing is a persistent, unbroken road or rail connection across water that uses some combination of bridges, tunnels, and causeways and does not involve intermittent connections such as drawbridges or ferries. A bridge–tunnel combination is commonly used for major fixed links.

Passport Island

King Fahd Passport Island, or simply Passport Island, is an artificial island located on the Bahrain–Saudi Arabia border. It is 25 km (16 mi) west of Bahrain's capital, Manama. It was constructed as part of the King Fahd Causeway connecting the two countries.

Gaoji Causeway

Gaoji Causeway is a 2,212-meter-long causeway in Xiamen, Fujian, China. It links Gaoqi in downtown Xiamen Island across the Xiamen Bay to Jimei District on the mainland. It used to serve as a road and rail link, as well as water piping into Xiamen Island. In order to improve the water quality around Xiamen Island, part of the causeway was blasted off and removed, replaced by bridge, and it would serve only as road link. Completed in 1955, along with Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge, the causeway is considered one of the major construction projects in the early years of the People's Republic of China. It remained Xiamen Island's sole link with the mainland until 1991. The Gaoji Causeway has a museum devoted to its construction and history founded in 2013.

References

  1. Oxford English Dictionary 1971.
  2. Williams, Robin; Williams, Romey (1992). The Somerset Levels. Bradford on Avon: Ex Libris Press. pp. 35–36. ISBN   0-948578-38-6.
  3. Wedgwood, Hensleigh (1855). "On False Etymologies". Transactions of the Philological Society (6): 66.
  4. "Causeway"  . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
  5. Brunning, Richard (February 2001). "The Somerset Levels". Current Archaeology. XV (4) (172 (Special issue on Wetlands)): 139–143.
  6. Pollard, Edward (2008). "Inter-Tidal Causeways and Platforms of the 13th- to 16th-Century City-States of Kilwa Kisiwani, Tanzania". The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. 1 (37): 98–114. doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2007.00167.x.

Further reading