Thanks Ray for posting this. Wonderful to see how they did this. Very similar to the construction of stone arches in that the center pieces become a keystone, exerting the downward pressure that holds everything else in place. Interesting too that they used iron, not steel, in those bands.
Yes, fascinating. The bridges history is pretty interesting. Until this reconstruction, the bridge used no metal nails. The three middle spans were rebuilt every 20 years, the sides every 40. The decking on the new bridge is japanese cypress but I couldn't see any description of the beam wood. I'd guess cypress too though.
I lived in Japan for 2 years. Even residential construction makes extensive use of mortise/tenon joints. Each and every stud has a tenon cut on each end, which fits into mortises cut into the floor plate and top plate. Very labor intensive, but their buildings creak and groan with earthquakes without falling down.
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