7 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know about Pontoon Bridges
For those who do not know, a pontoon bridge is basically a floating bridge supported by boats or barges whose buoyancy determines the maximum load the deck can hold. It doesn’t sound too sturdy, does it, so why would anyone build such structures when there are better alternatives? Read on and you’ll find that out, as well as discover many other interesting facts about these floating bridges.
1. Pontoon bridges have given a great advantage in battles throughout history when built as temporary river crossings. They are relatively fast to build and were often destroyed after crossing the waters, to prevent the enemies from using them as well. Other times, on long marches, they were taken apart and carried along, to be used for further crossings.
2. While most such structures are usually temporary, there are permanent ones as well, or at least built to be used for rather long periods of time. They are an especially good solution for quiet, sheltered water crossings, in the case of which it would simply not be economically feasible to build a bridge suspended from anchored piers.
3. The longest military floating bridge to ever be installed at a river crossing was assembled in 1995 by the US Army to cross the Sava River, flowing along the Bosnian border. It had a length of 619 metres (0.38 miles) and was taken down in 1996.
4. The longest floating bridge on the planet is the Governor Albert Rosellini Bridge, which crosses Lake Washington in Seattle. It has a length of 1.4 miles (2.285 metres) and it carries 190,000 people and 115,000 vehicles on a daily basis!
5. Pontoon bridges have been used since ancient times. There are records in ancient writings suggesting that the first temporary pontoon bridges ever built were invented in the 18th or 19th century BC in China.
6. A spectacular floating bridge, especially for those times, was commissioned by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great (522-485 BC). It was built across the Bosporus, stretching over 1.2 miles (2 km), and linked it Asia to Europe, so that the Emperor could conquer Thrace.
7. It is believed that London Bridge was initially a military pontoon bridge built by Roman troops nearly 2000 years ago. A piled bridge was installed at the site a bit later, in 59 AD, and then a small settlement was erected next to it – the town of Londinium.