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VI. Write down the key-words from the text.

VII. Get ready to speak on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Famous Suspension Bridges

Text 3: Akashi Kaikyo Bridge


1. What can the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge be famous for?

2. What is the purpose of the bridge?

3. What country does it present?

Brief information

Location: Kobe and Awaji-shima, Japan

Completion Date: 1998

Cost: $4.3 billion

Length: 12,828 feet

Type: Suspension

Purpose: Roadway

Materials: Steel

Longest Single Span: 6,527 feet

Engineer(s): Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Authority

In 1998, Japanese engineers stretched the limits of bridge engineering with the completion of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. Currently the longest spanning suspension bridge in the world, the Akashi Kaiko Bridge stretches 12,828 feet across the Akashi Strait to link the city of Kobe with Awaji-shima Island. It would take four Brooklyn Bridges to span the same distance! The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge isn't just long -- it's also extremely tall. Its two towers, at 928 feet, soar higher than any other bridge towers in the world. The Akashi Strait is a busy shipping port, so engineers had to design a bridge that would not block shipping traffic. They also had to consider the weather. Japan experiences some of the worst weather on the planet. Gale winds whip through the Strait. Rain pours down at a rate of 57 inches per year. Hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes rattle and thrash the island almost annually. How did the Japanese engineers get around these problems? They supported their bridge with a truss, or complex network of triangular braces, beneath the roadway. The open network of triangles makes the bridge very rigid, but it also allows the wind to blow right through the structure. In addition, engineers placed 20 tuned mass dampers (TMDs) in each tower. The TMDs swing in the opposite direction of the wind sway. So when the wind blows the bridge in one direction, the TMDs sway in the opposite direction, effectively "balancing" the bridge and canceling out the sway. With this design, the Akashi Kaikyo can handle 180-mile-per-hour winds, and it can withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of up to 8.5 on the Richter scale!

Fast Facts:

1. The bridge is so long, it would take eight Sears Towers laid end to end to span the same distance.

2. The length of the cables used in the bridge totals 300,000 kilometers. That's enough to circle the earth 7.5 times!

3. The bridge was originally designed to be 12,825 feet. But on January 17, 1995, the Great Hanshin Earthquake stretched the bridge an additional three feet.

4. The bridge holds three records: it is the longest, tallest, and most expensive suspension bridge ever built.


I. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

1. The Akashi Kaiko Bridge is the longest spanning cable-stayed bridge in the world.

2. The Akashi Kaiko Bridge being the longest blocks shipping traffic sometimes.

3. A complex network of triangular braces doesn’t let the wind to blow through the structure.

4. The bridge is supported with a truss.

5. The TMDs help balancing the bridge.

6. Being the longest and the highest the Akashi Kaiko Bridge can’t resist an earthquake

II. Answer the following questions:

1.What records does the Akashi Kaiko Bridge hold? Prove it with numbers.

2. What did engineers have to consider building the bridge?

3. How did engineers cope with problems they encountered?

4. What are tuned mass dampers? How do they work?

5. How strong is the bridge?

Text 4: Brooklyn Bridge

Brief information

Location: Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, USA

Completion Date: 1883

Cost: $18 million

Length: 3,460 feet

Type: Suspension

Purpose: Roadway

Materials: Steel, granite

Longest Single Span: 1,595 feet

Engineer(s): John A. Roebling, Washington A. Roebling

Considered a brilliant feat of 19th-century engineering, the Brooklyn Bridge was a bridge of many firsts. It was the first suspension bridge to use steel for its cable wire. It was the first bridge to use explosives in a dangerous underwater device called a caisson. At the time it was built, the 3,460-foot Brooklyn Bridge was also crowned the longest suspension bridge in the world. But the Brooklyn Bridge was plagued with its share of problems. Before construction even began, the bridge's chief engineer, John A. Roebling, died from tetanus. The project was taken over and seen to its completion by his son, Washington Roebling. Three years later, Roebling developed a crippling illness called caisson's disease, known today as "the bends." Bedridden but determined to stay in charge, Roebling used a telescope to keep watch over the bridge's progress. He dictated instructions to his wife, Emily, who passed on his orders to the workers. During this time, an unexpected blast wrecked one caisson, a fire damaged another, and a cable snapped from its anchorage and crashed into the river.

Despite these problems, construction continued at a feverish pace. By 1883, 14 years after it began, Roebling successfully guided the completion of one of the most famous bridges in the world -- without ever leaving his apartment.

Fast Facts:

1. Although he was physically able to leave his apartment, Washington Roebling refused to attend the opening celebration honoring his remarkable achievement.

2. The bridge opened to the public on May 24, 1883, at 2:00 p.m. A total of 150,300 people crossed the bridge on opening day. Each person was charged one cent to cross.

3. The bridge opened to vehicles on May 24, 1883, at 5:00 p.m. A total of 1,800 vehicles crossed on the first day. Vehicles were charged five cents to cross. Today, the Brooklyn Bridge is the second busiest bridge in New York City. One hundred forty-four thousand vehicles cross the bridge every day.


I. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

1. The Brooklyn Bridge is considered a brilliant deed of 20th-century engineering.

2. The Brooklyn Bridge is said to be the longest in the world.

3. The bridge's chief engineer was John A. Roebling.

4. It was the first bridge to use a caisson.

5. The bridge is quite busy today.

II. Answer the following questions:

1. The Brooklyn Bridge is named as a bridge of many firsts. What firsts can you recollect?

2. Look at the Brief Information section—two engineers are mentioned to have built the bridge. How can you explain the fact?

3. What is a caisson? What problems did it present to the engineers?

4. How much did the bridge “earn” on the opening day?

5. By how many times has a total of vehicles risen since the first day?

6. Do you agree that The Brooklyn Bridge is considered a brilliant deed of 20th-century engineering?

7. Why were vehicles charged some money to cross the bridge? Do you think it’s correct?

III. You’ve read about two most famous suspension bridges in the world. Can you compare them? Complete the following table:

  Akashi Kaikyo Bridge Brooklyn Bridge
Date of completion    
Building method    
Problems encountered    


IV. Match the meanings of these terms with their definition:

1. caisson 2. to span 3. cable 4. anchorage 5. to block 6. explosive 7. TDM 8. a tower 9. a suspension bridge 10. to snap a. thick rope of wire or hemp b. located at the outermost ends, the part of a suspension bridge to which the cables are attached. Similar in location to an abutment of a beam bridge. c. a bridge which carries its deck with many tension members attached to cables draped over tower piers. d. to obstruct e. a tall pier or frame supporting the cable of a suspension bridge. f. to break suddenly g. to stretch from side to side of; extend across h. a device that is an effective and practical means for reducing resonant vibration in structures. i. watertight chamber for underwater construction work j. a substance likely to cause a violent outburst

V. Put the words in the right order to make a statement:

1. The, both, Bridge, long, tall, Akashi, is, and, Kaikyo, extremely.

2. Building, had to, Japanese, the weather, also, consider, the bridge, engineers.

2. The TMDs, the direction, the bridge, of the wind, sway, balancing, against.

3. is, triangular, with, of, complex, the bridge, network, braces, supported.

4. the, suspension, cable, Bridge, steel, bridge, was, the first, to, Brooklyn, use, its, wire, for.

5. underwater, an, American, a caisson, device, for, engineers, the, first, time, used, called, explosives, in.

6. Before, even, engineer, construction, the bridge's, died, began, chief.

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