Designed by acclaimed British bridge designer Thomas Telford, this metal transport aqueduct is 304 meters long and was completed in 1806. Before Telford began designing transport aqueducts in iron, aqueducts were constructed for centuries in brick and mortar. Brick construction, however, was not impervious to water leakage even though similar construction methods were used as far back as the Romans in building aqueducts for carrying water exclusively.
Today, this transport aqueduct is distinguished as a World Heritage site and known as Pontcysylite Aqueduct in Wales. Three hundred and four meters long, the aqueduct carries passengers in narrow boats over the Llangellen Canal over the River Dee Valley.
In the late 1790’s and early 1800’s, both the French and the British led the world in engineering. In the early 1800’s, President Thomas Jefferson established the United States Military Academy at West Point, the first engineering school in the nation. The choice was difficult but the Academy decided to follow the French methods in bridge and inland waterway construction. Accordingly, all of the early textbooks for the cadets were written in French!