People have been building bridges for thousands of years, but there’s never been a bridge quite like a new one in Germany. We’ll check it out, today on Engineering Works!
Think about famous bridges and what do you get? The Golden Gate Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge. Verrazano-Narrows. If you’re an engineer, you might come up with the Tacoma Narrows bridge. Some are beautiful. Some cross spaces that are especially wide or deep.
The new bridge in Germany is pretty strange. First, instead of pavement, it carries water â€” over a river. The Elbe River. And instead of cars and trucks, it carries barges, big cargo barges with loads of anything from fuel oil to gravel or grain. This water bridge connects two important canals in central Germany and it lets the barges avoid having to motor along the Elbe River, which can be slow because parts of the river are pretty shallow. Sometimes the water is too low for the barges to move at all.
Building it was a huge project. It’s about half a mile long and deep and wide enough to float barges loaded with 1,500 tons of cargo. Engineers first started thinking about it in 1919. Then World War II and later the Cold War got in the way. But once the German engineers got started, they only spent six years in construction. And $600 million.
Well, our barge is here and it’s time to cross our bridge. See you on the other side.
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