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The Øresund Bridge, linking Sweden with DenmarkThe Øresund Bridge, linking Sweden with DenmarkBridges have been used since ancient times to span deep ravines, rivers and other stretches of water. Modern bridges are built using steel and concrete. They may carry roads or railways over rivers, wide estuaries or high valleys, or above other roads and railways. There are a number of different kinds of bridge design available, each of which may be used in a modern bridge according to the type of crossing required.

Different types of bridgeDifferent types of bridge
A clapper bridge in Devon, EnglandA clapper bridge in Devon, England

Beam bridge

A beam bridge is one of the simplest and oldest designs. The beam is supported at each end. The earliest bridges were tree trunks or stone slabs laid across a stream supported by the banks. A clapper bridge is a type of beam bridge which is supported from beneath by several columns in the river bed or ground. The deck of a beam bridge may be flat or made from a hollow girder (truss) containing the road or railway.

The world’s longest bridge over water is the Qingdao Haiwan Bridge in China, which is 42.5 km (26 miles) long. The T-shaped bridge connects Huangdao District, the city of Wingdao and Hongdao Island.

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