A footbridge (also a pedestrian bridge, pedestrian overpass, or pedestrian overcrossing) is a bridge designed solely for pedestrians.While the primary meaning for a bridge is a structure which links "two points at a height above the ground", a footbridge can also be a lower structure, such as a boardwalk, that enables pedestrians to cross wet, fragile, or marshy land. Bridges range from stepping stones–possibly the earliest man-made structure to "bridge" water–to elaborate steel structures. Another early bridge would have been simply a fallen tree. In some cases a footbridge can be both functional and artistic.
For rural communities in the developing world, a footbridge may be a community's only access to medical clinics, schools, businesses and markets. Simple suspension bridge designs have been developed to be sustainable and easily constructed in such 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 a sustainable transport system.
Footbridges are often situated to allow pedestrians to cross water or railways in areas where there are no nearby roads. They are also located across roads to let pedestrians cross safely without slowing traffic. The latter is a type of pedestrian separation structure, examples of which are particularly found near schools.
The simplest type of a bridge is stepping stones, so this may have been one of the earliest types of footbridge. Neolithic people also built a form of a boardwalk across marshes, of which the Sweet Track, and the Post Track are examples from England, that are around 6000 years old.Undoubtedly ancient peoples would also have used log bridges; that is a timber bridge that fall naturally or are intentionally felled or placed across streams. Some of the first man-made bridges with significant span were probably intentionally felled trees.
Among the oldest timber bridges is the Holzbrücke Rapperswil-Hurden crossing upper Lake Zürich in Switzerland; the prehistoric timber piles discovered to the west of the Seedamm date back to 1523 B.C. The first wooden footbridge led across Lake Zürich, followed by several reconstructions at least until the late 2nd century AD, when the Roman Empire built a 6-metre-wide (20 ft) wooden bridge. Between 1358 and 1360, Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria, built a 'new' wooden bridge across the lake that has been used to 1878 – measuring approximately 1,450 metres (4,760 ft) in length and 4 metres (13 ft) wide. On April 6, 2001, the reconstructed wooden footbridge was opened, being the longest wooden bridge in Switzerland.
A clapper bridge is an ancient form of bridge found on the moors of Devon (Dartmoor and Exmoor) and in other upland areas of the United Kingdom including Snowdonia and Anglesey, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire. It is formed by large flat slabs of stone, often granite or schist, supported on stone piers (across rivers), or resting on the banks of streams. Although often credited with prehistoric origin, most were erected in medieval times, and some in later centuries.A famous example is found in the village of Postbridge. First recorded in the 14th century, the bridge is believed to have been originally built in the 13th century to enable pack horses to cross the river. Nowadays clapper bridges are only used as footbridges.
The Kapellbrücke is a 204-metre-long (669 ft) footbridge crossing the River Reuss in the city of Lucerne in Switzerland. It is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, and one of Switzerland's main tourist attractions. The bridge was originally built c. 1365 as part of Lucerne's fortifications.
An early example of a skyway is the Vasari Corridor, an elevated, enclosed passageway in Florence, central Italy, which connects the Palazzo Vecchio with the Palazzo Pitti. Beginning on the south side of the Palazzo Vecchio, it then joins the Uffizi Gallery and leaves on its south side, crossing the Lungarno dei Archibusieri and then following the north bank of the River Arno until it crosses the river at Ponte Vecchio. It was built in five months by order of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici in 1565, to the design of Giorgio Vasari.
Bank Bridge is a famous 25 metre long pedestrian bridge crossing the Griboedov Canal in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Like other bridges across the canal, the existing structure dates from 1826. The special popularity of the bridge was gained through angular sculptures of four winged lions crowning the abutments. They were designed by sculptor Pavel Sokolov (1764-1835), who also contributed lions for Bridge of Lions.
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.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.
To ensure footbridges are accessible to disabled and other mobility-impaired people, careful consideration is nowadays also given to provision of access lifts or ramps, as required by relevant legislation (e.g. Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in the UK).Some old bridges in Venice are now equipped with a stairlift so that residents with a disability can cross them.
Types of footbridges include:
The residential-scale footbridges all span a short distance and can be used for a broad range of applications. Complicated engineering is not needed and the footbridges are built with readily available materials and basic tools.
Different types of design footbridges include:
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.
It was originally usual for passengers to cross from one railway platform to another by stepping over the tracks, but from the mid-19th century onwards safety demanded the provision of a footbridge (or underpass) at busier places. However, in some quieter areas, crossing the line by walking over the tracks is possible.
Narrow footbridges or walkways 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, along the side of a bridge, on the inside of a tunnel, 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. With the exception of those on top of railroad cars, catwalks are equipped with railings or handrails.
Since the early 1980s, several charities have developed standardized footbridge designs that are sustainable for use in developing countries. The first charity to develop such designs was Helvetas, located in Zurich, Switzerland.Designs that can be sustainably and efficiently used in developing countries are typically made available to the public gratis.
The record for the longest footbridge in the world was claimed by then New York State Governor David Paterson in an Oct. 3, 2009 Poughkeepsie Journal article about The Walkway Poughkeepsie Bridge across the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, New York. : l'Estacade Champlain, a bridge built for bicycles and foot traffic only to parallel the Champlain Bridge from Brossard, Quebec west to Nun's Island (L'ile Des Soeurs) & the Island of Montreal, was measured by a calibrated device as being 7,512 feet (2,292 meters) long or 1.4227 miles or 2.292km, starting and ending where the treadway rises above the ground and a pedestrian could access the bridge as close as possible to the St Lawrence River.On July 22, 2017, the Champlain Bridge Ice Structure (French
Arouca 516, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge, which spans the River Paiva, Arouca Geopark, Portugal, opened in April 2021. The 516 metres bridge hangs 175 meters above the river.
The Walkway Over The Hudson footbridge was originally built for trains, it was recently restored as a pedestrian walkway. The footbridge has a total length of 2,063 meters (6,768 feet). Before it was demolished in 2011, the Hornibrook Bridge which crossed Bramble Bay in Queensland, Australia was longer than the Poughkeepsie Bridge at 2.684 km (1.7 mi).
Much rural travel takes place on local footpaths, tracks and village roads. These provide essential access to water, firewood, farm plots and the classified road network. Communities and/or local government are generally responsible for this infrastructure.[ dead link ]
Pedestrian overpasses over highways or railroads are expensive, especially when elevators or long ramps for wheelchair users are required. Without elevators or ramps, people with mobility handicaps will not be able to use the structure. People may prefer to walk across a busy road rather than climb a bridge, and this may be attributed to being in a hurry,perceiving the safety and security of the footbridge to be low, or simply because of feeling tiredness when climbing the stairs. It is recommended that overpasses should only be used where the number of users justify the costs. The operational concept of the footbridge is based on the notion that pedestrians need to walk a longer distance and exert more physical effort so that the traffic flow is not interrupted. This is not in line with the sustainability goals of the transport system promoting active travel such as walking and cycling. A change of policy to increase safety and walkability could involve transferring that effort of crossing the road to drivers who will need to wait longer so pedestrians can cross the road safely at street level.
Narrow, enclosed structures can result in perceptions of low personal security among users. Wider structures and good lighting can help reduce this.
A bridge is a structure built to span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or road, without closing the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle, usually something that is otherwise difficult or impossible to cross. There are many different designs that each serve a particular purpose and apply to different situations. Designs of bridges vary depending on the function of the bridge, the nature of the terrain where the bridge is constructed and anchored, the material used to make it and the funds available to build it.
A suspension bridge is a type of bridge in which the deck is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. The first modern examples of this type of bridge were built in the early 1800s. Simple suspension bridges, which lack vertical suspenders, have a long history in many mountainous parts of the world.
A skyway, skybridge, or skywalk is an elevated type of pedway connecting two or more buildings in an urban area, or connecting elevated points within mountainous recreational zones. Urban skyways very often take the form of enclosed or covered footbridges that protect pedestrians from the weather. Open-top modern skyways in mountains now often have glass bottoms. Sometimes enclosed urban skywalks are made almost totally from glass, including ceilings, walls and floors. Also, some urban skyways function strictly as linear parks designed for walking.
The Hungerford Bridge crosses the River Thames in London, and lies between Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge. Owned by Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd it is a steel truss railway bridge flanked by two more recent, cable-stayed, pedestrian bridges that share the railway bridge's foundation piers, and which are named the Golden Jubilee Bridges.
An overpass is a bridge, road, railway or similar structure that crosses over another road or railway. An overpass and underpass together form a grade separation. Stack interchanges are made up of several overpasses.
A boardwalk is an elevated footpath, walkway, or causeway built with wooden planks that enables pedestrians to cross wet, fragile, or marshy land. They are also in effect a low type of bridge. Such timber trackways have existed since at least Neolithic times.
Hornibrook Bridge is a heritage-listed mostly-demolished road bridge on the Hornibrook Highway over Hays Inlet at Bramble Bay from Brighton, City of Brisbane to Clontarf, Moreton Bay Region, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by Manuel Hornibrook and built from 1932 to 1935 by Manuel Hornibrook. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 7 October 1994.
The Conwy Suspension Bridge is a Grade I-listed structure and is one of the first road suspension bridges in the world. Located in the medieval town of Conwy in Conwy county borough, North Wales, it is now only passable on foot. The bridge is now in the care of the National Trust. It originally carried the A55(T) road from Chester to Bangor.
A pedestrian separation structure is any structure that removes pedestrians from a roadway, street or railway track. This creates a road junction where vehicles and pedestrians do not interact.
Hampden Bridge is a heritage-listed single-span suspension bridge that carries Moss Vale Road (B73) across the Kangaroo River, in Kangaroo Valley, in the City of Shoalhaven local government area of New South Wales, Australia. The bridge was designed by Ernest de Burgh and built by Loveridge and Hudson. The property is owned by Roads and Maritime Services, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 August 2019.
Barnes Railway Bridge is a Grade II listed railway bridge in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and the London Borough of Hounslow. It crosses the River Thames in London in a northwest to southeast direction at Barnes. It carries the South Western Railway's Hounslow Loop Line, and lies between Barnes Bridge and Chiswick stations. It can also be crossed on foot, and is one of only three bridges in London to combine pedestrian and rail use; the others being Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges and Fulham Railway Bridge.
The Walkway over the Hudson is a steel cantilever bridge spanning the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie, New York, on the east bank and Highland, New York, on the west bank. Built as a double track railroad bridge, it was completed on January 1, 1889, and formed part of the Maybrook Railroad Line of the New Haven Railroad.
The Harahan Bridge is a cantilevered through truss bridge that carries two rail lines and a pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River between West Memphis, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee. The bridge is owned and operated by Union Pacific Railroad and is the second longest pedestrian/bicycle bridge in the United States. It was built with roadways cantilevered off the sides of the main structure for vehicles. These roadways are owned by the cities of Memphis, Tennessee and Crittenden County, Arkansas, and were used from 1917–1949, until the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge opened 400 feet (120 m) south of the Harahan. The bridge was named in honor of railroad executive James Theodore Harahan, former president of the Illinois Central Railroad, who was killed in a railroad accident during the construction of the bridge. In February 2011, Union Pacific Railroad officials agreed to the idea of converting the 1917 roadways into a bicycle-pedestrian walkway across the river. In June 2012, Memphis was awarded a $14.9 million federal grant to build the walkway. The overall project was expected to cost $30 million, of which about $11 million was used for the Harahan Bridge portion. Construction was completed in 2016.
The Wards Island Bridge, also known as the 103rd Street Footbridge, is a pedestrian bridge crossing the Harlem River between Manhattan Island and Wards Island in New York City. The vertical lift bridge has a total of twelve spans consisting of steel towers and girders. It carries only pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
Pont Briwet refers to the road and railway bridges that cross the River Dwyryd, near Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd in North Wales. The first bridge was a Victorian road and railway viaduct that was constructed entirely from timber by the Cambrian Railways company. Although it was recognised as being a Grade II listed structure, a result of it being an increasingly rare example of a surviving 19th-century wooden road and railway viaduct, the condition of the bridge had deteriorated over time and by the 21st century was posing regular and considerable inconvenience to both road and rail traffic.
A timber bridge or wooden bridge is a bridge that uses timber or wood as its principal structural material. One of the first forms of bridge, those of timber have been used since ancient times.
Garratt Road Bridge consists of two adjacent bridges over the Swan River, linking the suburbs of Bayswater and Ascot in Perth, Western Australia. The upstream bridge was built in 1935, while the matching downstream bridge was built in 1972. The site was significant prior to the construction of Garratt Road Bridge – it featured in Aboriginal mythology, and was in the near vicinity of 1880s bridges for pedestrians and trains. From that time there were various proposal to provide a vehicular crossing between Bayswater and Bassendean. Interest peaked in 1928, but plans were delayed due to the Great Depression. The first bridge, designed by Main Roads Chief Engineer Ernest Godfrey, was constructed in 1934–35. It allowed two lanes of traffic to cross the Swan River, alongside pedestrians on an adjacent footbridge.
The Joy Baluch AM Bridge is a bridge across Spencer Gulf between Port Augusta and Port Augusta West in South Australia. It carries Highway 1 and is a key road link on both east–west and north–south road routes in Australia. The western end leads to Eyre Peninsula, the Eyre Highway and the Stuart Highway. The eastern end leads to the Augusta Highway towards Adelaide, Victoria and New South Wales.
(A log bridge) is a bridge composed of log beams, the logs being in natural condition or hewn, which are thrown across two abutments, and over which traffic may pass.
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