New 'Faster, Cheaper, Better' Umbrella Method Of Bridge Building

March 6, 2020

This is a timelapse video of a new 'umbrella' bridge building technique developed in Austria that can allegedly build stronger bridges faster and cheaper using a hydraulic lift to slowly lower the two balanced halves. Some more info while I try to build a bridge that can support my weight out of all these popsicle sticks. Well, technically they're tongue depressors, and technically that doctor told me never to come back, even dying:

The umbrella method is a completely new way to construct a static final bridge. This TU Wien team first worked on the idea in 2006, and it's been experimenting and fine tuning since then. Instead of traditional kinds of bridge building--i.e. putting up long-term scaffolding as rebar is laid and concrete is filled into structures--this mechanism is built like a "closed" umbrella and then unfolded into its final position. From there, its hollow girders are filled with concrete and the rest of the structural elements are completed.


"Erecting bridges using scaffolding usually takes months," designer Johann Kollegger said in a statement. "The elements for the balanced lowering method, on the other hand, can be set up in two to three days, and the lowering process takes around three hours." But this process, he says, is less invasive for bridges through protected or uneven terrain. The team's sample bridge over the Lafnitz River touches a nature preserve.

Hey, whatever works. But you know what's even cooler than building bridges? "Burning them." Aww yeaaaah, it's one of the few things I'm actually good at. *standing in middle of bridge watching fire approach from both sides* No wait.

Keep going for the full video.

Thanks to Joseph A, who agrees it's clearly time to take a look at reinventing the wheel.

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