Civil engineers like Reddy Kancharla are the world’s creators, they are the ones who design and build almost everything that you see around you. Every building, every road, every structure, monument and bridge, they have all been created and designed by teams of civil engineers throughout the world, sometimes for beauty, more often than not to save a problem.
During his career Reddy has generally focused on the design of bridges and he has created some of the world’s most spellbinding bridges which show great levels of ingenuity and creativity. We were very lucky to catch up with Reddy at a recent event and we wanted to pick his brains about what exactly are the key aspects that need to be considered when creating a bridge, and here is what he had to say on the matter.
The first thing that a civil engineer will take a look at is the gap that they are trying to bridge over. When they do this they have to think about what is below the gap and how deep it is, this is to rule out whether or not beams can be place directly underneath the bridge of if they have to look for a different style. When they consider the gap they will also be looking at the gradient which the bridge will occupy.
In terms of determining which type of bridge they will be building, a civil engineer will pay particular attention to what kind of geography there is on either side of the gap. For example if they look to put a suspension bridge in place but the rocks towards the edge of the gap are weak, the bridge will have to extend much further over the land until it reaches a point where the rock is far more sturdy. The length of a bridge is very often determined by how far in land it is required to go, in order to add structural integrity.
Make no mistake, when civil engineers get their heads together to design something like a bridge, they will do so pragmatically first, understanding what type of bridge is required and how it is best built, and then they will look to add some stylish features and touches to it. The aesthetics of course are always important and depending on where the bridge is being built, they may even have free reign to build something which is both creative and functional.
Weight and Costings
Finally the architects will have to look at the weight that the bridge is required to hold, and the overall cost of the structure. The costings for a bridge are generally easier than they are for a building, for no other reason than there are normally less parts. In terms of the weight which a bridge is required to hold, it will usually be built to support 100% more than it is required to.