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EXTENDED SPANS: Radical design concepts for the next generation of suspension bridge have been patented by a British consultant engineer backed by the Steel Construction Institute. The structural form, which uses an array of horizontally tensioned cables to support a lightweight road deck, is thought capable of spanning in excess of 3.5km and has already been put forward as a contender for the 7km replacement for the Oakland Bay crossing in San Francisco. Designer Gordon Rose said the design would give considerable technical advantages over the four planned causeway and single span options now under consideration not least, he said, that its two piers could be built in shallow water. Rose is now refining the design with help from SCI with the computer analysis.

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