Every nation needs the infrastructure to perform all kind of activities related to the improvement and service of the society. Transportation system became part of the infrastructure due its connection between two destinations, using maritime, land, or aerial methods, creating a link for social and economic activity. Bridges are widely used to cross rivers, valleys, and roads, providing a passage with other parts of the land since ancient times to modernity. Each structure has different requirements to cover, such span clearage, traffic flow, geometry and characteristics of the place to build; therefore, a great variety of bridges can be developed. Common materials used on construction are structural steel, reinforced concrete, pre-stressed concrete, or post-tensioned concrete; depending on the structural behavior of each type of bridge, there will be a maximum clear span to cover, which depends directly on the project’s budget. There are a variety of loads and environmental conditions that the new and existing structure needs to support effectively, including dead load, traffic, rain, wind, flood, and seismic events, using effective structural design process and techniques; on the other hand, there are long-term deterioration process, such as corrosion, wear, and fatigue, which should be considered on the maintenance process, avoiding additional costs, several damages, and catastrophic failures. Prevention and control of degradation process is achieved by effective maintenance methods applying protection technology such as paints, coating and cathodic protection. The purpose of this chapter is to show a brief review of ancient and modern bridges, including the process of design, material selection, construction, and maintenance.
Part of the book: Infrastructure Management and Construction