Build a Bridge

  • by Kate Hudec
  • Posted 11.01.97
  • NOVA

Survey the sites

Here are the four sites that need bridges. Take a good look at each one and notice how each differs from all the others.

A 4,200-foot span across an ocean bay where huge ships come and go Enlarge Photo credit: © pkujiahe/iStockphoto


A 300-foot span across a narrow waterway Enlarge Photo credit: © Dariusz Paciorek/iStockphoto


A 3,000-foot main span across a busy shipping channel in a major city Enlarge Photo credit: © Yang Liu/CORBIS


A 1,200-foot span across a deep river gorge Enlarge Photo credit: © Catharina van den Dikkenberg/iStockphoto


Okay, now you're ready to consider what's needed where to best span the gap.



American Society of Civil Engineers A site for engineering professionals with information on publications, job openings, educational programs, conferences, and other industry resources.

Association for Bridge Construction and Design Learn about the activities of this organization devoted to improving the science of bridge design, construction, and maintenance.

Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute This organization is dedicated to fostering greater understanding and use of precast/prestressed concrete.

The Clark Bridge, Alton Illinois A photo history of the bridge featured in the NOVA program Super Bridge.

Figg Engineering Group, Hanson Professional Services These two companies are the engineers of record for the Clark Bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge Read about the history of the Golden Gate Bridge and take a virtual stroll from the Marin side of the bridge across to San Francisco.


Billington, David P. 1985. The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering. Princeton University Press.

Leonhardt, Fritz. 1990. Bridges. MIT Press.


Kate Hudec
Special Thanks:
Paul Barbone
Craig Finley
Marty McIntyre
Rita Seraderian