May 8, 2007 Faith and Works
But by all means get the bridge right! The New York Times looks at the extraordinary narrow bridges of the Incas, which completely befuddled the Europeans who conquered and ultimately extinguished them:
Dr. Ochsendorf, a specialist in early architecture and engineering, said the colonial government tried many times to erect European arch bridges across the canyons [of Peru], and each attempt ended in fiasco until iron and steel were applied to bridge building. The Peruvians, knowing nothing of the arch or iron metallurgy, instead relied on what they knew best, fibers from cotton, grasses and saplings, and llama and alpaca wool.
The Inca suspension bridges achieved clear spans of at least 150 feet, probably much greater. This was a longer span than any European masonry bridges at the time. The longest Roman bridge in Spain had a maximum span between supports of 95 feet. And none of these European bridges had to stretch across deep canyons.
Great bridges across great chasms. But you still have to not be afraid!