Crosses the River Avon
Bridges lined with shops have always been rarities, but Robert Adam's creation in Bath has more than novelty value. His restrained composition of curves and rectangles was one of the visual delights of English Neo-classicism. The uncluttered lines of the river facades were designed to be effective at a distance, while the elevations to the road provided an interesting play of light and shadow for passers-by. Paradoxically, the success of the concept destroyed the architecture. Within twenty years of its building, commercial pressures on this prime shop site dictated an expansion upwards, with a butchery of those graceful elevations which fortunately Adam was not alive to witness. Then in the nineteenth century, individual leaseholders enlarged their shop windows or cantilevered out over the river as the fancy took them. Storms and road widening also took their toll. By I948 the buildings had 'become pathetic travesties of the original design.'" In that very year, Bath City Council removed a wooden structure from the back of one shop; the tide had turned. From then on the story has been one of gradual restoration.
Japan is the home of the small picturesque bridge of timber arches, frequently built without the use of a single metal nail or bolt. Christian Barman cites Japanese bridges as examples of ‘exquisitely perfected temporary construction’. Briges and temples were often rebuilt anually. the famous Kintai-kyo bridge at Iwakuni used to have its five arches rebuilt in succession, so that the whole bridge was renewed every twenty-five years. According to Japenese belief structures must never be allowwed to fall into decay as that would enfeeble the spirit of continuity on which the survival of mankind depends (H. Shirley 32).
"Ponty" as it's known to the locals, is famous for its old bridge, which was, when built, the longest single spanning bridge in the world. The bridge, built in 1750 by William Edwards (a self taught mason) was so long (45m / 140 feet span) that it took three attempts to get it right. The first, a wooden bridge was washed away by floods, the second, of stone, collapsed during construction because of its weight. The third design was also stone, but much lighter because it had 6 large holes in it... 3 on each side, of diameter 9, 6 and 3 feet. Edwards was paid 50 pounds to maintain it for seven years. In 1857, a three-arch bridge was built alongside to make it easier for traffic to cross the river (the old bridge was a bit too steep).
Alcantara Bridge over the Tagus was built by the Roman, Caius Julius Lacer, for the Emperor Trajan.
“Some of the mightiest and most impressive Roman Bridges, which fall broadly into two groups, are to be found in Spain. On the one hand there is the long low bridge of many nearly equal arches acros a broad river valley. Of this kind are the bridges of Salamanca, Cardova, and merida. As a contrast there is themajestic majestic lofty bridge of few and unequal arches thrown across a wide rocky gorge (H. Shirley 21).”