Thanks for posting this, Bill. I’ve found it much more interesting than I would have expected.
The original design made me think, “I’m glad I don’t build decks.” It was hard to understand the reason for the hardware and it looked like a pain to build. The drawings and force analyses helped me see what was needed and what wasn’t.
I especially liked the picture of testing the original design. Analysis is great but I’m never sure I haven’t missed something until I test it out.
The improvement in fasteners has been amazing over the course of my career. Back in school (late 70s) we used traditional wood screws that required more piloting, stripped out easily and didn’t hold as well as many of the engineered screws available these days. Some things do get better.
Your bridge projects are like my work was, with levels of planning and approval required and some decisions made by people with little hands-on building experience. You’ve done a great job coming up with a more effective design.