A suspension bridge is one type of a bridge in which the deck is hung below suspension cables on vertical suspenders. The first modern examples of this type of bridge were built in the early 19th century. Bridges without vertical suspenders have a long history in many mountainous parts of the world.
This type of bridge has cables suspended between towers, plus vertical suspender cables that carry the deck below, upon which traffic crosses. This arrangement allows the deck to be level or to arc upward for additional clearance. Like other suspension bridge types, this type often is constructed without false work.
The suspension cables must be anchored at each end of the bridge, since any load applied to the bridge is transformed into a tension in these main cables. The main cables continue beyond the pillars to deck-level supports, and further continue to connections with anchors in the ground.
The roadway is supported by vertical suspender cables or rods, called hangers. In some circumstances, the towers may sit on a bluff or canyon edge where the road may proceed directly to the main span, otherwise the bridge will usually have two smaller spans, running between either pair of pillars and the highway, which may be supported by suspender cables or may use a truss bridge to make this connection.
In the latter case there will be very little arc in the outboard main cables.