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Suspension Bridge over the Zambezi in Tete—Original Stringer Bronze Bearings versus Recent Modification

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This paper addresses the role of the bearings under the stringers of the suspension bridge over the Zambezi River in Tete (Mozambique). The original bronze solution is compared with a recent modification using neoprene. It is proved that the higher stiffness of the original bearings is more efficient than the neoprene flexibility. A similar behavior can be observed in most stone structures and the conclusions may be generalized. The paper falls within the scope of recent research at the University of Beira Interior, aiming to develop concepts for new prestressed stone structures, using the force paths approach. It was motivated by a controversy over a recent structural rehabilitation of the Tete Bridge. The fundamental issue is related to the rotation of the suspended cross-beams. The original solution proves to be adequate because it is based on metallic plates in the contact zones between the cross-beams and the stringers. Replacing stiff components by flexible neoprene elements changes the fundamental characteristics of the original solution and reduces the capacity to generate rotational equilibrium under traffic loads within the range of small displacements.
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Keywords: BEARINGS; BRONZE; REHABILITATION; STIFFNESS; SUSPENSION BRIDGE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2017

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    Structural Engineering International (SEI), the quarterly Journal of IABSE, published since 1991, is the leading international journal of structural engineering dealing with all types of structures and materials. SEI offers its readers a unique blend of short profiles on recent structures, and longer, in-depth technical articles on research, development, design, construction and maintenance. Articles are written by practicing engineers and academia from around the world and reflect the high standards of IABSE. IABSE Peer Review stamps are given to papers that have passed through a highly selective review process and demonstrate a significant contribution to the state of structural engineering knowledge.To recognise contributions of the highest quality, an Outstanding Paper Award is presented each year.

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