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Vertical-lift bridge

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Title: Vertical-lift bridge  
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Subject: Burlington Rail Bridge, Fourteenth Street Bridge (Ohio River), Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge, Canal Street railroad bridge, Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Lift Bridge
Collection: Vertical Lift Bridges
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Vertical-lift bridge

Vertical-lift bridge
An animation showing how a vertical-lift bridge operates with vehicular and shipping traffic
An animation showing how a vertical-lift bridge operates with vehicular and shipping traffic
Ancestor Truss bridge,
Related Bascule bridge, swing bridge, folding bridge, retractable bridge
Descendant Submersible bridge, table bridge
Carries Automobile, pedestrians, truck, light rail, heavy rail
Span range Short
Material Steel
Movable Yes
Design effort medium
Falsework required Depends upon degree of prefabrication

A vertical-lift bridge or lift bridge is a type of movable bridge in which a span rises vertically while remaining parallel with the deck.

The vertical lift offers several benefits over other movable bridges such as the bascule and swing-span bridge. Generally speaking they cost less to build for longer moveable spans.[1] The counterweights in a vertical lift are only required to be equal to the weight of the deck, whereas bascule bridge counterweights must weigh several times as much as the span being lifted. As a result, heavier materials can be used in the deck, and so this type of bridge is especially suited for heavy railroad use.

Although most vertical-lift bridges use towers, each equipped with counterweights, some use hydraulic jacks located below the deck. An example is the 52-foot (16 m) span bridge at St Paul Avenue in Milwaukee[2] (see also table bridges). Another design used balance beams to lift the deck, with pivoting bascules located on the top of the lift towers.[3] An example of this kind was built at La Salle in Illinois, USA.

The biggest disadvantage to the vertical-lift bridge (in comparison with many other designs) is the height restriction for vessels passing under it. This is a result of the deck remaining suspended above the passageway.


  • Examples 1
    • Australia 1.1
    • Belgium 1.2
    • Canada 1.3
    • France 1.4
    • Germany 1.5
    • Italy 1.6
    • Indonesia 1.7
    • Japan 1.8
    • The Netherlands 1.9
    • Russia 1.10
    • Romania/Bulgaria 1.11
    • Ukraine 1.12
    • United Kingdom 1.13
    • United States 1.14
  • Gallery of images 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
    • Bibliography 4.1
  • External links 5



The Bridgewater Bridge is one of the last remaining operational vertical-lift bridges in Australia


  • BudabrugNL – road – zeekanaal Brussel-Schelde – opened 1955
  • EuropabrugNL – road – zeekanaal Brussel-Schelde – opened 1972
  • VerbrandebrugNL – road – zeekanaal Brussel-Schelde – opened 1968
  • HumbeekbrugNL – road – zeekanaal Brussel-Willebroek – opened 1968
  • BrielenbrugNL – road – zeekanaal Brussel-Schelde – opened 1968
  • RingbrugNL – road – zeekanaal Brussel-Willebroek – opened 1986
  • VredesbrugNL – road – zeekanaal Brussel-Schelde – opened 1952



The Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas's approx. 110-metre (360 ft) lift span is likely the longest in Europe,[4] but that of the Pont Gustave-Flaubert is very nearly as long.
  • Pont Gustave-Flaubert – crossing the Seine at Rouen, this lift bridge is the highest vertical-lift bridge in Europe, allowing ships up to 55 m tall to pass under it. It is 670 m long, with a span of 116 metres[6]. A striking design feature, the two road sections are mounted outside the central towers. The bridge was designed by François Gillard and Aymeric Zublena and opened to road traffic on 25 September 2008. It is named after the author Gustave Flaubert who was born in Rouen.[7]
  • Pont de Recouvrance – over the river Penfeld in Brest – road & tramway [8]
  • Pont Levant de CriméeFR – over the Ourcq Canal; the last surviving vertical-lift bridge in Paris
  • The Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas, spanning the River Garonne in Bordeaux, was opened in March 2013. The central lift span is 117m long and can be lifted vertically up to 53m to let tall ships pass underneath. The bridge is 575m long with the central lift span weighing around 2,600 tonnes. Its width varies from 32 to 45m and it will be used by cars, trams, cyclists and pedestrians. It can handle 43,000 vehicles a day and will reduce traffic congestion in Bordeaux.[9] Structurae gives a length of 110 m for the lift span,[10] making it probably the longest vertical-lift span in Europe.[4]


Kattwyk Bridge, in Hamburg, Germany, with its lift span raised


Ponte Due Giugno in Fumicino, Italy


  • Ampera Bridge – an automobile lift bridge located in Palembang that cross the Musi River. This bridge is still used by road vehicles but since 1970 never lift its road deck again. Eventually its counterweights removed in 1990.[11]
The Botlek bridge in Rotterdam is being replaced by a much bigger one, built right next to it.
The new bridge will have two lifting spans of 87×50 m (95×55 yd), each with a surface area approaching a football field[12]


  • Chikugo River Lift Bridge – connecting Ōkawa, Fukuoka and Saga, Saga. Constructed as a railway bridge in 1935, it is 507 m long, with a central span 24 m long that weighs 48 t and rises 23 m. The railway closed in 1987, but the bridge reopened to pedestrians in 1996 and was designated an important cultural property in 2003.[13]

The Netherlands



  • Danube Bridge, connecting both countries over Danube, between Giurgiu and Russe. Opened on 20 June 1954, the bridge is 2,223.52 m (7,295.0 ft) long and has a central lift-bridge (85 m) to allow the free-passing oversized boats passage.


United Kingdom

United States

Two Erie Canal lift bridges in Lockport, New York, the nearest one shown raised for canal traffic (and closed to road traffic). The pedestrian stairs allow foot traffic to cross the raised span. Initially these bridges normally remained open for canal traffic and closed on demand for the sparse road traffic of the early 20th century.
The Interstate Bridge, on Interstate 5 in Oregon–Washington, is one of only very few opening bridges on the national Interstate Highway System.
The vertical-lift section of the Fourteenth Street Bridge at the east entrance to the Portland Canal in Louisville, Kentucky.

Gallery of images

See also


  1. ^ Troyano (2003), p.731
  2. ^ Troyano (2003), p.729
  3. ^ Troyano (2003), p.732
  4. ^ a b c "Vertical Lift Bridges: Most Important Structures in this Category".  
  5. ^ "Gustave Flaubert Bridge".  
  6. ^ Structurae gives a length of 100 m[5]
  7. ^ "6th bridge at Rouen: Pont Gustave Flaubert". Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  8. ^ Today's Railway Europe #1214, p15
  9. ^ "Bordeaux opens new lift bridge".  
  10. ^ "Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge".  
  11. ^ "33 Tahun Sudah Jembatan Ampera Tak Bisa Naik Turun Lagi". Kompas (in Indonesian). April 19, 2003. Retrieved September 15, 2007. 
  12. ^ "De nieuwe Botlekbrug: Hefbrug van wereldformaat" [The new Botlek bridge: a lift-bridge of worldly size] (in Dutch). A-Lanes A15. 2012. Retrieved 29 Sep 2014. 
  13. ^ Nihon Keizai Shimbun Evening edition 8 December 2008 p.1
  14. ^ "Center of New Bridge Floated Across Arthur Kill on 4 Barges".  
  15. ^ "The Arthur Kill Bridge.; Arguments For And Against The Proposed Plans". The New York Times. 1888-03-22. 
  16. ^ a b Wood Wortman, Sharon; Wortman, Ed (2006). The Portland Bridge Book (3rd Edition). Urban Adventure Press. pp. 119–123.  
  17. ^ "The Fairport Lift Bridge". Frank E. Sadowski Jr. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  18. ^ "The Joe Page Bridge". Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway. Retrieved 2011-03-09. 
  19. ^ "Willamette River (Steel) Bridge" (DOC). Portland Bridges.  


  • Leonardo Fernandez Troyano (2003). Bridge Engineering: A Global Perspective. Thomas Telford Publishing.  

External links

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