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Bridging the gap


As someone who was involved as a young graduate in the design of the original Tamar Bridge in 1959, I found your project study on strengthening the suspension bridge (NCE 29 November) fascinating.

I do, however, take issue with your comments regarding the concrete deck. There are no shear connectors, as it was deliberately designed not to act compositely with the longitudinal stringers.

Connections to locate the concrete slab to the stringers were provided near the centre of the span of the stringers, which seem to have been mistaken for shear connectors.

Such a thin slab design gave the designers some confidence that the actual deck stresses would be similar to those which could be calculated by the methods then available.

Technical knowledge and analytical capability has moved on since the sliderule days of the 1950s, and I am sure the deck would be designed differently today. But surely, the contemporary knowledge, standards and methods available must always be taken into account when older structures are written about, commented on, or indeed criticised.

David Palmer (F), Glendouglas, Jedburgh, Scottish Borders palmer.

glendouglas@virgin. net

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