Did you know that there are more than 600,000 bridges in the United States? Out of these bridges, approximately one-third of them were built using a significant amount of steel. Steel is one of the most common elements used here in the U.S., for building bridges. Some of these bridges include:
- Long-span bridges
- Highway bridges
- Railroad bridges
Some of the characteristics of steel which make it an attractive choice are: versatility, cost effectiveness, longevity, and sustainability. Steel bridges aren’t just attractive, they are generally stronger, safer, faster to build, more flexible, and require less maintenance. These types of bridges are often supported more by environmentalists because they are more earth-friendly.
Now that we have given some background on steel bridges, let’s discuss some of their benefits!
Steel has a considerably high strength-to-weight ratio. This minimizes the weight of bridge superstructures, which in turn, reduce the cost of building the substructures that support them. This is especially a benefit when constructing bridges where the ground may be unstable, like river beds and canyons. Also, the lightweight of steel lowers the cost of transporting and handling it.
Steel is the most recycled material on the planet. In fact, almost all steel from retired or demolished structures are returned to the steel-making process or reused as is. This makes a serious difference in minimizing negative environmental impact.
One important aspect to mention is that recycled and reused steel performs at the same level as newly manufactured steel.
Although steel poses great strength, it can be bent and twisted to create virtually any type of bridge. If you think about it, steel bridges can look light and airy, or solid and stable. They can be formed into any shape, from a straight line to a complex curve. The surface of steel may be detailed in countless ways and painted a full range of colors. Lastly, steel utility infrastructure can be tucked under a bridge and hidden so it does not affect the design.
Steel is a major contributor to Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) techniques. Steel components can be built offsite and shipped to the building location, where they are placed together. In some cases, complete bridges are built offsite and then moved into place.
These different techniques reduce bridge construction time from year or months, to days or weeks. Therefore, this has a positive impact on project costs, the environment, traffic & business disruption, and on-the-job accidents.
Steel bridges have major advantages compared to bridges constructed with other materials. Therefore, it is clear to see why they are continuously the preferred choice of construction for project involving bridges. If you are considering a project involving bridge construction, it is important to consult a structural engineer. They will carefully review your project requirements to ensure that the appropriate steel bridge design meets your needs.
Are you interested in learning about whether your project could use a steel bridge? Are you unsure of how to proceed with design? If so, contact Sabio Engineering Services today! Our structural engineers are qualified and trained in assessment of steel bridges.Contact us at (929) 381-0030 or visit our website.