Read a civil engineering article about why bridges fall to practise and improve your reading skills.

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Some of the biggest and most expensive transportation projects in the world have involved building bridges. Bridges are crucial links that carry cars, trucks and trains across bodies of water, mountain gorges or other roads. As a result, they are one of the most important aspects of civil engineering and are subject to intense scrutiny, especially when they collapse.

Bridge collapses can be tragic events, leading to loss of life and serious property damage. That's why bridge engineers, designers and builders must always take their jobs very seriously. The best way for them to prevent these accidents is to understand why bridges collapse in the first place. Understanding bridge collapses can lead to major changes in the design, construction and safety of future building projects. The following are main reasons why bridges fall.

Fire

Historically, more bridges were made of wood and were much more susceptible to fire. This was particularly true of old-fashioned train bridges, where the spark created by the steel wheels and steel tracks could sometimes cause a bridge to catch fire and burn to the ground.

During construction

A large number of bridge accidents occur during the construction of the bridge itself. These accidents are often due to an error made by the engineers, such as a miscalculation. The bridge collapses under its own weight, and this can be deadly for the workers on it at the time.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes damage all structures, including bridges. Luckily, this kind of collapse is relatively infrequent, especially with modern bridges. Engineers have learned to design bridges in earthquake zones on areas that are much more resistant to movement.

By defect

Some bridge collapses are mysteries, and engineers only realise why after they conduct a complete investigation. In some cases, this could happen because inferior-quality material was used in the construction, or because of a defect in a key piece of the bridge. In other cases, the bridge was designed only to support a certain amount of weight and no more.

Boat or train crash

Both of these kinds of accidents are extremely rare, but boats and trains can cause a bridge to collapse for different reasons. With trains, it's the velocity of the impact that can bring a bridge down. With boats, it's the very large mass they have that can bring about the collapse, even if they are moving very slowly when it occurs.

The best way to avoid bridge failures is to plan for them. Modern technologies that can detect structural weakness, safer working environments and better designs can all help to reduce these terrible accidents.

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Upper intermediate: B2

Comments

I think english understanding is difficult thing. But I can easily understand english in this site and solve it.my interest developing in english through this site.

I don't know anything about the most famous bridges in the world, but the most wide-known bridge in my city is Leningradskii bridge. There is a memorial of memory about issues in Leningrad during the second World War on this bridge. It is average bridge that is approximately 500 meters length.

The most famous bridge I've known been Longbien bridge in Hanoi. It was built by French more than a century ago. It firstly was used for human, but now, mostly "animals" have been using it.
The "V+" government has maintained it sometimes to keep it be Hanoi's iconic.

Hi
regarding to 1st paragraph :" ... they ... are subject to intense scrutiny", why shouldn't be "subjected to". What are the differences?
Thank you

Hello AliMir
'subjected to' is also correct here; both forms mean exactly the same thing. The way it is written in the article, 'subject' is an adjective, whereas in the form you suggest 'subjected' is a past participle in a passive form.
All the best
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I know London Bridge's Falling Down ♬ 
I ever visited it, but I remember London Tower more clearly.
ᔪ(°ᐤ°)

A good article. In Task 1 question 3, the bridge material is not an incorrect choice. Contact between the wheels and the track is not, in itself, a reason for bridges to burn.

Hello Ken
Yes, you are right! We have just reworded the question and answer options to make it clearer.
Thanks very much for taking the time to point this out to us!
All the best
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Osmangazi Bridge in Turkey, toll is 42$ and it is 2,7km long.
Minimum wage is 370$ :)

:)) exactly

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