



 
Mike, In reality this problem is very difficult, as it depends on the relative weights of the curved cables and roadway. If the cables had all the weight, the curve would be a catenary (y = cosh x). If all the weight is in the roadway, it would be a parabola (y = x^{2}). "College algebra" texts frequently pretend the latter is the case. (You are expected to understand this convention!) So, if (0,0) is taken to be the center of the roadway, under the lowest point and on the line of symmetry, the cables are assumed to follow the curve y = c + ax^{2}. What is c? (y = 8 when x = 0) Good Hunting!
 


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