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Bridge over everything

Roads are replaced with bridges wherever possible
  (+5, -1)
(+5, -1)
  [vote for,
against]

Foundations for roads cost a fortune and have to be specially designed for each location. The idea is to build most roads as bridges from standardized parts. Posts are driven into the ground at fixed distances (50 yards?) and standardized sections of road are put on top. The road has about 4ft free height underneath. All components are manufactured in centralized plants and shipped by blimp.

This method requires a lot less preparation of the ground, only foundations for the posts. There is less sealed surface. Animals can cross under instead of over the road so there is less roadkill. The centralized manufacturing plants can use air scrubbers that keep bitumen vapors and cement dust out of the environment. Most floods go under instead of over the road. The road is perfectly drained so there are no more frost heaves. No need for major construction sites because blimps can swap damaged sections in hours.

It will be too expensive to do this for just one little stretch of road, but if most roads are built like this then economy of scale could kick in.

kbecker, Jul 25 2003

(???) The Bang Na Expressway http://www.earthtec...angNaExpressway.htm
Like this? [spiraliii, Oct 21 2004]

Evil Knievel Highway Evil_20Knievel_20Highway
Exactly as described. The savings will be enough for many costume changes for all and socialized orthopedic surgery. [bungston, Aug 16 2010]

[link]






       How do I get my car up there? Or is that what the blimps are for?
Amos Kito, Jul 25 2003
  

       [AK] You need a ramp, no more SUVs and Hummers doing off-road driving where its not allowed. Of course you could mount a blimp on the roof carrier and not use the road at all.
kbecker, Jul 25 2003
  

       If I had a blimp would I even need the car part of it?
DeathNinja, Jul 25 2003
  

       You would still want your neighbors to see that you can handle a SUV. A blimp just doesn't convey the image of a healthy can-do view of life that easily overcomes any mid-life crisis.
And of course there are those windy days, when ground travel just feels better.
kbecker, Jul 25 2003
  

       This satisfies my Blimp Algorithm for Awarding Croissants. Enjoy.
dbsousa, Jul 25 2003
  

       I need this. +
Shz, Jul 28 2003
  

       [Kru] You're arguing over trifles.   

       //vandalism// who cares - it's under the bridge.   

       //a place for drug-dealers to sell their goods// who cares - there's no shortage right now.   

       //underneath the bridge get very little sunlight// who cares - right now there's no sunlight under roads.   

       I think this is a wonderful idea that will allow pedestrians (human or otherwise) to reclaim their rights. Adding blimps makes it beyond golden.
Worldgineer, Jul 28 2003
  

       I'd really like to see a serious analysis of the comparative costs. I wonder if you couldn't beat current road-building costs on an absolute basis by the fact that doing most of the construction in competing factories would eliminate the "standing around waiting for the mood to strike me"...er, that is, "standing around waiting for acceptable weather conditions" delays.
beauxeault, Jul 28 2003
  

       Some considerations: The elevated roads will have icing problems. Floods will weaken the foundations of the posts, if not wash away the entire road. After an earthquake, someone needs to put up those "road missing" signs -- and fast. Snakes, turtles, and other cold-blooded animals love blacktop for warmth, so they'll still try hard to get up there. You'll need to custom-make the road sections for curves, number of lanes, hills, bank angles, deceleration lanes, intersections... It's all possible, just a bunch of fun stuff for the engineers...   

       BUT... when you've already got a piece of road and a blimp, drop it over a multi-lane accident at rush hour! Have an on-ramp & off-ramp, so folks can drive right overhead. As long as it's determined to be safe (?), traffic can continue during the accident investigation.
Amos Kito, Jul 28 2003
  

       Amos: most of those considerations would hold true for non-elevated roadways as well.
snarfyguy, Jul 28 2003
  

       I keep coming back to transportation...
And the image of a truck driving down the road...
With a great big piece of road trailing behind it...
  

       The logistics (read "cost") of transportation may put this one out of range. I like the idea of pre-fab roads though.
ato_de, Jul 28 2003
  

       Truck? Did you miss the blimp part?
Worldgineer, Jul 28 2003
  

       Bridges have to begin and end somewhere... A lattice work of bridges criss-crossing the country would require frequent and intense repair work. Smaller damage to these structures means greater possible harm to drivers. This bridgetopia you speak of will come crashing down with the next good quake.
I want to say 'yes,' but I have to say 'no.' (-)
k_sra, Jul 28 2003
  

       It would work in places which don't suffer from a lot of earthquakes.   

       Where are you planning to put the pedestrians? 4 feet below the cars? (having cars zoom past at head hight really would worry me). Or would you make me step up a few steps every time I want to walk anywhere? Maybe it would be best just for the main roads in between towns.
RobertKidney, Jul 28 2003
  

       No medians for the cops to snag you...   

       Why not tunnels everywhere? You have a minor ventilation issue, but you don't have to worry about weather. And the above-ground asthetics are nicer.
phoenix, Jul 28 2003
  

       its a no from me. a little place like the UK; we would all be living under the shadow of a bloody bridge and I dispute the economics as well and the outlook of the place. the way to go is underground.
po, Jul 28 2003
  

       <oblig>going underground, going underground, when the boys are etc. etc.</oblig>
neilp, Jul 28 2003
  

       bridges over everything ? even.. bridges?
neilp, Jul 28 2003
  

       Lets start this in Madison county.
sufc, Jul 28 2003
  

       [k_sra, phoenix] What you said.
galukalock, Jul 29 2003
  

       This would result in an even uglier transport infrastructure than is already in place. Sure, the powers that be *could* hire visionary architects and designers to ensure that the bridges are aesthetically pleasing, but they won't - they've too many bridges to build.
my face your, Jul 29 2003
  

       Thinks Birmingham (UK) city centre, cars on top people on the bottom. hmm. I agree with [po] and [phoenix]. We shouldn't be putting are cars on podiums we should be burying them. I like it purely as an idea though.
nichpo, Jul 29 2003
  

       Yes, I did miss the blimp part, but I still have a picture of a truck on a road with a road trailing behind it...   

       Roads? We bring our own!
ato_de, Jul 29 2003
  

       At least we got the word "bridgetopia" out of it.   

       I voted +, 'cause it was fun to think about.
snarfyguy, Jul 29 2003
  

       re: tunnels. Would we be able to transport them with blimps? If not, I don't like it.
Worldgineer, Jul 29 2003
  

       [Burns, Trebor, fogfreak] Those who don't read the annotations are destined to repeat them.
FarmerJohn, Jul 29 2003
  

       Neat idea but have you ever seen those signs "Bridge Ices Before Road?"
mr red, Oct 21 2003
  

       [spirali] Very cool, but I read nothing about blimps.
Worldgineer, Oct 21 2003
  

       kinda reminds me of that Bladerunner movie... just what we need more roads less sky...
aquamarine, Oct 21 2003
  

       This is I-10 between Beaumont, TX and New Orleans, LA.
stringstretcher, Oct 30 2003
  

       //re: tunnels. Would we be able to transport them with blimps? If not, I don't like it.//   

       Of course we'd be able to transport tunnels with blimps; we'd just have to prepare deep, properly lined sockets to fit them into when they arrived.
pertinax, Jan 12 2007
  

       Thanks for the churn [pert] - I love that I can bun this again.   

       Blimp tunnels? Interesting. You could move them using wind, like pneumatic tubes. But that's really too much digging.
Worldgineer, Jan 12 2007
  

       / (Reads [C Trebor]'s annotation, spits grape Kool-Aid all over screen laughing) fogfreak, Jul 28 2003 /   

       I had a mouthful of grape koolaid at the ready, but it seems [C Trebor] is no more.
bungston, Jan 12 2007
  

       (hops over to the Waybackmachine, finds anno) //Even troubled waters?// Meh. Clever, but certainly not grape cool-aid spitworthy.
Worldgineer, Jan 12 2007
  

       Considering the curvature of the earth, tunnels would seem more practical.
ed, Jan 12 2007
  

       Cut out the middle man - use inflatable annular blimp/bridge/tunnel road sections, anchored to the ground. And make them transparent.
BunsenHoneydew, Jan 12 2007
  

       I seldom take the neutral vote but I just can't make up my mind! Its almost the kind of thing where if the early road builders decided this was the best way to build a highway back in the 1800's nobody would have questioned it and every road would be up on stilts today.
Jscotty, Jan 12 2007
  

       Should make highways at least 8' off the ground to leave room underneath for bikes, pedestrians and campers.   

       As soon as a road reaches "to be paved" status, put it up on stilts.   

       Likey [+]
FlyingToaster, Aug 13 2010
  

       I work in development, and I can promise you this would be inordinately more expensive than normals roads. Why do you think roads are especially expensive, at least compared to complex structures like you describe? They're not. You do realize that roads are just gravel with asphalt on top, right? And asphalt is just gravel with tar in it.   

       I don't know who told you about "foundations" for roads and designing them, but it's not so. The gravel serves as the "foundation", and you only need to prepare the site by scraping off the top 4"-10" layer of soil, to get rid of the topsoil. A machine called a scraper does this in one deft drive-through. There is no special designing for different sites. It's always just gravel and asphalt. Designing how the road curves, within acceptable limits based on speed limits, is more of a challenge. The only changes in structural design are for different drainage systems.
EdwinBakery, Aug 13 2010
  

       the idea includes blimps: your argument is invalid.
FlyingToaster, Aug 13 2010
  

       Edwin is right that this idea would be inordinately expensive for the same reason all bridges are inordinately expensive: the wasted middle segment of the bridge. Rather than wasteful bridges, roads (and for that matter bridges) should be replaced by jumps, with cheap cheap air in the center.   

       For matters of practicality, cars would need to be replaced by motorcycles as well. The cars, now obsolete, could be parked indefinitely between the jumps.
bungston, Aug 13 2010
  

       Boston went the tunnel route (only for the interstates, but). Most over budget over schedule project ever.
MechE, Aug 13 2010
  

       What about the chickens? Why would a chicken cross under the road when there are other animals under there, maybe even foxes?
swimswim, Aug 13 2010
  

       I like this idea but I originally expected it would be a bridge over the entire earth. I could live with that too.
murbs, Aug 13 2010
  

       You could also have special arched double length sections. The two road sections on a single pier would be removed, the arched section added, and then the pier can be repaired/replaced in a more leisurely fashion without obstructing traffic.
MechE, Aug 16 2010
  
      
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