The Third Suspension Bridge

Niagara Falls, New York – Niagara Falls, Ontario


More and more demands were being placed onto the existing Railway Suspension Bridge that was completed in 1855. Trains crossed more frequently, and the trains became larger in length and their loads became heavier. The increased stresses placed upon the existing bridge structure were causing concerns safety became a big concern.

The work of renovating the Railway Suspension Bridge was carried out by Leffert L. Buck, an American engineer who later went on to become famous for his design of great steel arch bridge. This bridge eventually replaced the suspension bridge.

The beauty of the second bridge was sacrificed for one of much greater strength. The increase in trade and commerce demanded that wood and stone be replaced with steel.
Slender steel pylons replaced the thick stone towers. Steel beams and trusses, which are a structure comprising one or more triangular units constructed with straight slender members whose ends are connected at joints referred to as nodes, replaced the wooden frame work.

The entire renovation was completed by 1886. No accidents occurred during construction and with little interruption to rail traffic.

This new structure raised the carrying capacity between 300 tons to 350 tons which was much more than any train and load was capable of weighing. All that remained of the second bridge was the anchorages and cables, but they too had been overhauled and improved.

This bridge continued in service for ten years, when pressure from the railway company and the economy began calling for the design and building of a more modern steel arch type bridge.

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