Laigh Milton Viaduct in Ayrshire is the oldest surviving railway bridge in Scotland
Laigh Milton Viaduct in Ayrshire is the oldest surviving railway bridge in Scotland
Ancestor Trestle bridge, Box girder bridge
Related None
Descendant None
Carries Expressways, highways, streets, railroads
Span range Short (multiple)
Material reinforced concrete, prestressed concrete, masonry
Movable No
Design effort medium
Falsework required available for use, since viaducts are all composed of low bridges.

A viaduct is a bridge composed of several small spans. The term viaduct is derived from the Latin via for road and ducere to lead something. However, the Ancient Romans did not use that term per se; it is a modern derivation from an analogy with aqueduct.[citation needed] Like the Roman aqueducts, many early viaducts comprised a series of arches of roughly equal length. Viaducts may span land or water or both.

The longest viaduct in antiquity may have been the Pont Serme which crossed wide marshes in southern France.[1] Viaducts are commonly used in many cities which are railroad centers, such as Chicago, Atlanta, Birmingham, London, and Manchester. These viaducts cross the large railroad yards that are needed for freight trains there, and also cross the multi-track railroad lines that are needed for heavy railroad traffic. These viaducts keep highway and city street traffic from having to be continually interrupted by the train traffic.[citation needed] Likewise, some viaducts carry railroads over large valleys, or they carry railroads over cities with lots of cross-streets and avenues. The example of Viaduct on Expressways are Alabang Viaduct in South Luzon Expressway in Muntinlupa City, Philippines that crosses Alabang-Zapote Road in Barangay Alabang the viaduct reaches until Filinvest Interchange. In the north the Pulilan-Apalit Viaduct known as Candaba viaduct in North Luzon Expressway in Philippines is raised over the Candaba swamp from Pulilan, Bulacan until it reaches Apalit, Pampanga. This keeps the highway open to traffic, even when the swamp gets flooded during the rainy season. It has a view of Mt. Arayat, which is the lone mountain in Central Plain of Luzon.

Many viaducts over land connect points of similar height in a landscape, usually by bridging a river valley or other eroded opening in an otherwise flat area. Often such valleys had roads descending either side (with a small bridge over the river, where necessary) that become inadequate for the traffic load, necessitating a viaduct for "through" traffic.[2] Such bridges also lend themselves for use by rail traffic, which requires straighter and flatter routes.[3] Some viaducts have more than one deck, such that one deck has vehicular traffic and another deck having rail traffic. One example of this is the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto, Canada, that carries motor traffic on the top deck as Bloor Street, and metro as the Bloor-Danforth subway line on the lower deck, over the steep Don River valley. Others were built to span settled areas and crossed over roads beneath - the reason for many viaducts in London.

Viaducts over water are often combined with other types of bridges or tunnels to cross navigable waters. The viaduct sections, while less expensive to design and build than tunnels or bridges with larger spans, typically lack sufficient horizontal and vertical clearance for large ships. See the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

The Millau Viaduct is a cable-stayed road-bridge that spans the valley of the River Tarn near Millau in southern France. Designed by the French bridge engineer Michel Virlogeux, in collaboration with architect Norman Robert Foster, it is the tallest vehicular bridge in the world, with one pier's summit at 343 metres (1,125 ft)—slightly taller than the Eiffel Tower and only 38 m (125 ft) shorter than the Empire State Building. It was formally dedicated on 14 December 2004 and opened to traffic two days later. The viaduct Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge in China is the longest bridge in the world according to Guinness World Records as of 2011.[4]

In Romance languages, the word viaduct refers to a bridge which spans only land. A bridge spanning water is called ponte.


Past and future

Elevated expressways were built in rich cities such as Boston (Central Artery), Seoul, Tokyo, Toronto (Gardiner Expressway).[5] But some were demolished because they were ugly and divided the city.[citation needed] However in developing nations such as Thailand, India (Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway), China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, elevated expressways have been built and more are under construction to improve traffic flow, particularly as a workaround of land shortage when built atop surface roads.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Colin O’Connor: Roman Bridges, Cambridge University Press 1993, ISBN 0-521-39326-4, p. 99
  2. ^ Brownlee, Christy (March 2005) "Taking the high road: France's new bridge helps a small town dodge traffic—and set a new world record" SuperScience 16(6): pp.12–15;
  3. ^ Davidsen, Judith (April 1993) "A new "lite" rail viaduct formula: Norman Foster designs a rapid-transit viaduct for Rennes, France" Architectural Record 181(4): p.26;
  4. ^ Longest bridge, Guinness World Records. Last accessedd July 2011.
  5. ^ Toronto built, then demolished an expressway

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • viaduct — VIADÚCT, viaducte, s.n. Construcţie de piatră, de beton sau de metal care susţine o cale de comunicaţie terestră, traversând o vale la mare înălţime. [pr.: vi a ] – Din fr. viaduc, germ. Viadukt. Trimis de ana zecheru, 24.03.2009. Sursa: DEX 98  …   Dicționar Român

  • Viaduct — Vi a*duct, n. [L. via a way + duct, as in aqueduct: cf. F. viaduc. See {Via}, and {Aqueduct}.] A structure of considerable magnitude, usually with arches or supported on trestles, for carrying a road, as a railroad, high above the ground or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Viaduct — Viaduct, ein Bauwerk, mittelst dessen ein Weg über ein Thal, einen Einschnitt, überhaupt in einer größeren Höhe über der natürlichen Bodenfläche geführt wird u. zwar ohne einen Damm, demnach vermittels Bogenstellungen od. mittels auf Pfeilern… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Viaduct — Viaduct, lat. deutsch, Ueberbrückung eines Thales etc. auf Bogen, kommt besonders bei Eisenbahnbauten vor …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • viaduct — (n.) 1816, from L. via road + duct as in AQUEDUCT (Cf. aqueduct). Fr. viaduc is an English loan word …   Etymology dictionary

  • viaduct — ► NOUN ▪ a long bridge like structure carrying a road or railway across a valley or other low ground. ORIGIN from Latin via way , on the pattern of aqueduct …   English terms dictionary

  • viaduct — [vī′ə dukt΄] n. [L via (see VIA) + (AQUE)DUCT] a long bridge consisting of a series of short spans supported on piers or towers, usually to carry a road or railroad over a valley, gorge, etc …   English World dictionary

  • viaduct — /vuy euh dukt /, n. a bridge for carrying a road, railroad, etc., over a valley or the like, consisting of a number of short spans. [1810 20; < L via way + (AQUE)DUCT] * * * ▪ bridge  type of long bridge or series of bridges, usually supported by …   Universalium

  • viaduct — UK [ˈvaɪəˌdʌkt] / US noun [countable] Word forms viaduct : singular viaduct plural viaducts a long bridge on high posts, usually across a valley …   English dictionary

  • viaduct — noun Viaduct is used after these nouns: ↑railway …   Collocations dictionary

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