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Swing bridge


Swing bridge

Swing bridge
Ancestor Truss bridge, cantilever bridge
Related Other moving types: Bascule bridge, drawbridge, jetway, vertical-lift bridge, tilt bridge
Descendant Gate-swing bridge - see Puente de la Mujer
Carries Automobile, truck, light rail, heavy rail
Span range Short
Material Steel
Movable Yes
Design effort Medium
Falsework required No
BNSF Railway bridge across the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon, showing the swing-span section turning.

A swing bridge is a movable bridge that has as its primary structural support a vertical locating pin and support ring, usually at or near to its center of gravity, about which the turning span can then pivot horizontally as shown in the animated illustration to the right. Small swing bridges as found over canals may be pivoted only at one end, opening as would a gate, but require substantial underground structure to support the pivot.

In its closed position, a swing bridge carrying a road or railway over a river or canal, for example, allows traffic to cross. When a water vessel needs to pass the bridge, road traffic is stopped (usually by traffic signals and barriers), and then motors rotate the bridge horizontally about its pivot point. The typical swing bridge will rotate approximately 90 degrees, or one-quarter turn; however, a bridge which intersects the navigation channel at an oblique angle may be built to rotate only 45 degrees, or one-eighth turn, in order to clear the channel.


  • Advantages 1
  • Disadvantages 2
  • Examples 3
    • Albania 3.1
    • Argentina 3.2
    • Australia 3.3
    • Belize 3.4
    • Canada 3.5
    • Egypt 3.6
    • France 3.7
    • Germany 3.8
    • India 3.9
    • Ireland 3.10
    • Italy 3.11
    • Latvia 3.12
    • The Netherlands 3.13
    • New Zealand 3.14
    • Panama 3.15
    • Ukraine 3.16
    • United Kingdom 3.17
    • United States 3.18
    • Vietnam 3.19
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Swing Bridge for pedestrians, in motion with yacht approaching, at Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town.
  • As this type requires no counterweights, the complete weight is significantly reduced as compared to other moveable bridges.
  • Where sufficient channel is available to have individual traffic directions on each side, the likelihood of vessel-to-vessel collisions is reduced.
  • The central support is often mounted upon a berm along the axis of the watercourse, intended to protect the bridge from watercraft collisions when it is opened. This artificial island forms an excellent construction area for building the movable span as the construction will not impede channel traffic.


Government Bridge across the Mississippi has a swing section for river traffic traversing Lock and Dam 15.
  • For a symmetrical bridge, the central pier forms a hazard to navigation. Asymmetrical bridges may place the pivot near one side of the channel.
  • Where a wide channel is not available, a large portion of the bridge may be over an area that would be easily spanned by other means.
  • A wide channel will be reduced by the center pivot and foundation.
  • When open, the bridge will have to maintain its own weight as a balanced double cantilever, while when closed and in use for traffic, the live loads will be distributed as in a pair of conventional truss bridges, which may require additional stiffness in some members whose loading will be alternately in compression or tension.
  • If struck from the water near the edge of the span, it may rotate enough to cause safety problems (cf. Big Bayou Canot train disaster).


The point at which the Pyrmont Bridge of Sydney swings




  • Pyrmont Bridge, Sydney, Australia. (opened 1902. Closed to traffic, 1988. Still in use as a pedestrian bridge.)
  • Glebe Island Bridge, Sydney, Australia. (Opened 1901. Tramway defunct. Closed to traffic, 1995; supplanted by Anzac Bridge. Still in existence.)
  • Victoria Bridge, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. (Opened 1889, closed to traffic 1975. Still in use as a foot bridge.)
  • The Sale Swing Bridge, Sale, Victoria, Australia. (Opened 1883. Closed to traffic in 2002. Restored to full working order in 2006.)
  • Dunalley Bridge, Dunalley, Tasmania Still in use.


  • Belize City Swing Bridge, Belize City, Belize. Oldest such bridge in Central America and one of the few manually operated swing bridge in world still in operation. (Restored in 2000s)


Bridge Name Waterway Co-ordinates Status Comments
Cambie Street Bridge Connaught Bridge False Creek, Vancouver, British Columbia Demolished/replaced (1985), formerly vehicle, pedestrian & streetcar traffic Short documentary "Swingspan" tells the history of the bridge and its demolition.
Canso Canal Bridge Canso Canal, Nova Scotia Still swings, Vehicle/Rail Traffic Links Nova Scotia mainland with Cape Breton Island
CNR Bridge Fraser River, British Columbia Still swings, Rail Traffic Between Queensborough in New Westminster, British Columbia and the mainland
Derwent Way Bridge Fraser River, British Columbia Still swings, Vehicle/Rail Traffic Between Queensborough in New Westminster, British Columbia and Annacis Island in Delta, British Columbia
Fredericton Railway Bridge Fredericton, New Brunswick No longer swings, pedestrian traffic. Constructed in 1887 and opened 1889. Last train on the bridge was on 1996.
Hog's Back Bridge Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Ontario Still swings, Vehicle Traffic This bridge swings from one end. There is an adjacent fixed bridge over Hog's Back Falls
Iron Bridge Third Welland Canal, Thorold, Ontario No longer swings, Rail Traffic Carrying the CNR Grimsby Subdivision over the third Welland Canal.
Kaministiquia River Swing Bridge Kaministiquia River, Thunder Bay, Ontario No longer swings. Road and rail traffic only. Currently closed due to October 29, 2013 fire [1] Built in 1908 by Grand Trunk Railway; currently owned by the CNR
Little Current Swing Bridge North Channel, Little Current, Ontario Still swings, Vehicle Traffic (formerly rail) Built by Algoma Eastern Railway, 1913
Montrose Swing Bridge Welland River, Niagara Falls, Ontario No longer swings, Rail Traffic Formerly Canada Southern Railway, now CPR
Moray Bridge Middle Arm of the Fraser River, Richmond, British Columbia Still swings; Eastbound Vehicle Traffic Connects Sea Island, Richmond, BC (location of Vancouver International Airport) to Lulu Island, Richmond, BC
New Westminster Bridge Fraser River, British Columbia Still swings, Rail Traffic, formerly had 2nd deck for vehicles Between New Westminster and Surrey.
Pitt River Bridge Pitt River, British Columbia No longer swings, Vehicle Traffic Twin side-by-side bridges connecting Port Coquitlam, British Columbia to Pitt Meadows, British Columbia
Pitt River Railway Bridge Pitt River, British Columbia Still swings - Rail Traffic (Please Contribute)
Wasauksing (Rose Point) Swing Bridge South Channel, Parry Sound, Ontario Still swings, Vehicle Traffic (formerly rail) Links Wasauksing First Nation (Parry Island) to the mainland at Rose Point
Welland Canal, Bridge 15 Welland Recreational Waterway, Welland, Ontario No longer swings, Rail Traffic Built by Canada Southern Railway, ca. 1910. Now operated by Trillium Railway
Welland Canal, Bridge 20 Approach Span 2nd and 3rd Welland Canal, Port Colborne, Ontario No longer swings, Abandoned (formerly rail) Abandoned 1998 when adjacent Vertical lift bridge was dismantled.
Bergen Cut-off Bridge Red River, Winnipeg, Manitoba Centre span permanently in open position, allowing unrestricted river traffic Decommissioned CPR railway bridge (last used in 1946)
Superstructure built by Dominion Bridge Co. 1913-1914


El Ferdan Railway Bridge, the longest swing bridge in the world, runs from the east of the Suez canal to the west into Sinai, is left open most of the time to allow sailing ships to pass in the canal, only closing during the passage of trains.
The "Abtswoudsebrug", a swing bridge for bikers and pedestrians built in 1979
Poira-Corjuem Bridge, Goa.






Ponte Girevole San Francesco di Paola in Taranto
  • Ponte Girevole, Taranto (built in 1887) – a very unusual type, with two spans that separate at the bridge's center and pivot sideways from the bridge's outer ends.[2][3]


The Netherlands

The "Abtsewoudsebrug" in Delft, close to the Technische Universiteit Delft, is a bridge of this type.

There's another one on the channel between Ghent (Belgium) and Terneuzen (The Netherlands) at Sas Van Gent. Check this link:

Holland and also Belgium have several bridges of this type. Check

New Zealand

(n.b. "swing bridge" in New Zealand refers to a flexible walking track bridge which "swings" as you walk across[4])



United Kingdom

Traffic crossing the Northwich Road swing bridge on the Manchester Ship Canal at Stockton Heath, Warrington
Hull Docks branch bridge

United States

The former Chincoteague Channel Swing Bridge in Chincoteague, Virginia, now demolished.

The largest double swing-span bridge in the United States is the 3,250 feet (990 m) long, 450 feet (140 m) navigable span, 60 feet (18 m) clearance

  • Video of manually operated railroad swing bridge over the Lewes & Rehoboth Canal, Lewes, Delaware, 2008

External links

  1. ^ "Burned bridge fate in CN's hands, officials say". 31 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Photograph of the Ponte Girevole (Taranto, Italy) while fully open Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  3. ^ Apertura Ponte Girevole Taranto (video of the Girevole Bridge opening). Retrieved 2013-02-09.
  4. ^ Walkway swingbridge manual / prepared and finalised by S. Chiet ... [et al.] Published by : New Zealand Forest Service, Wellington [N.Z.] : 1986.
  5. ^ "History". Kyivdiprotrans Institute. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Wood Wortman, Sharon; Wortman, Ed (2006). The Portland Bridge Book (3rd Edition). Urban Adventure Press. pp. 119–120.  
  9. ^ Google Maps image
  10. ^ Google Maps Image
  11. ^ Google Maps image
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Google Maps image
  15. ^ a b Amtrak Moveable Bridge Smart Card
  16. ^ Google Maps image
  17. ^, photo
  18. ^ Google Maps Image
  19. ^ Google Maps Image
  20. ^ "West Seattle Connection: World's Only Hydraulically Operated Double-Leaf Concrete Swing Bridge" (PDF). City of Seattle Engineering Department. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  21. ^ photo
  22. ^, photo (1 of 2)
  23. ^, photo (2 of 2)
  24. ^ Google Maps Image


See also


Navigation Locks Bridge, Bonneville Dam
A swing bridge near Belle Glade, Florida


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