EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR PROJECT A SUCCESS
With over 80 years of experience, we’ve developed a proven process that benefits you and your clients.
So Many Things To Consider
We can help scope your bridge project. We’ll just need to know a few things about what you’re thinking and what the project is about, such as:
- What’s being crossed?
- What type of roadway facility are we on?
- What’s being re-used, if anything?
- What clearances are required?
- What is the desired design life of the project?
Once we have the basics understood we can begin to review with you more specific options or ideas about deck construction, roadway edge details, railing criteria and live loads. We will also want to discuss what bridge series and styles may be of interest and also whether there are any special enhancements or treatments that are part of the project such as lighting fixtures, pedestrian railing ideas, aesthetic bolting options, concrete treatments, paint colors, or expansion joint systems.
At this point in time it is good to review the model specifications we have published. We want you to become familiar with how the bridge specifications generally read, and how the options being considered eventually will become specifications.
I NEED A BALLPARK NUMBER…TO BUDGET MY PROJECT.
Once you’ve made it through the gauntlet of the scoping process we should be able to evaluate what the bridge will cost. Sometimes there are still areas that remain undecided and that’s expected. We will work with you to get down to a shortlist of options that fit your goals and develop pricing for you to consider.
The goal of this phase is to match the desired goals for the project with a workable budget that can be met. We will be hoping to winnow it down to one or two feasible alternatives that can be evaluated and confidently advanced into final design.
We do want to share some terms we use so that everyone can speak the same language. We prepare and distribute estimates in various forms that convey different levels of certainty and understanding. An estimate can a be a response to a “just gimme’ a price” type of inquiry. This is “a verbal” and it has lots of room for questions because there is a lot that is still undefined. Beyond a verbal, an estimate can be more substantiated by being based on similar projects, construction and geographies: we call this … you guessed it “an estimate”. We take a little more time and we send you a document that states what the known parameters the estimate was based on. If we are really getting close to engaging in a purchase order agreement or submitting a competitive bid, we will prepare a material take-off and shop labor estimate and send you a letter stating all of the known information and specifications. This is called “a quote”. This quote letter and its terms and conditions may be executed on its own, or we may need to reference it in your contract language.
HOW DOES THIS GO TOGETHER?
While we’re developing a budget cost for you, we frequently spend some time drawing up preliminary sketches of the bridge’s general framing plan, bridge geometry and the basic construction. These drawings help to show what we understand to be the project along with any alternatives being considered.
If you are an agency or a consulting engineer preparing contract documents for a bid letting, we will make our sketches available as non-proprietary vector drawings for incorporation into your drawings. This usually helps to save time and represent the project appropriately in terms of common arrangements and details.
It is also a very good idea to edit the model specifications at this time to match what is being developed in the preliminary engineering sketches or drawings. These model specifications are available from your Regional Sales Manager or from our website, usbridge.com.
WHAT’S THIS GOING TO LOOK LIKE?
One of the most powerful uses of technology for bridge engineers is the use of computers to create virtual models to assist in visualizing a project.
Especially when trying to consider the visual impacts to a given site, or the aesthetic qualities experienced by the traveler. It is all about viewshed and U.S. Bridge has the capability to model your proposed bridge over a digital terrain model or incorporate it into photos of your existing site. We will orient the viewer according to a reference in your photo(s) and situate the bridge to the background given.
If your project could benefit from a model and rendering to help stakeholder buy-in or make a sale, contact one of our Regional Sales Managers to explore the possibilities.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DETAILS
Let’s get started. The design of the bridge usually begins when an order is placed with one of our Regional Sales Managers. Once a commitment is made, a bridge design team is assigned.
The design team consists of a project engineer responsible for the job. He is assisted by a designer. The project engineer analyzes the proposed bridge applying the specified design loads and appropriate load factors. He designs the members and connections for their limit states according to the appropriate load combinations. He applies numerous code checks per the required bridge design code (usually the latest edition of AASHTO LRFD) and begins to sketch or draw the design information for the designer.
These sketches convey the project engineer’s design results and intended connection information. He also will markup the general notes and list the design assumptions and pertinent bridge data onto the title sheet.
Part of Final Engineering involves reviewing the design calculations and construction plans to verify the scope and specifications have been followed. Also checked is the plan content to ensure it reflects the engineer’s design intent and that no conflicts exist and that no omissions have occurred. The final step before submittal is usually the application of the Professional Engineer’s seal and signature.
BRIM IS LIKE BIM…
WHICH IS WHAT AGAIN?
Well we conveniently left out a big step that occurs during Final Engineering just so we could talk about it RIGHT HERE. That step is Bridge Information Modeling. BrIM is the drafting board of today, but it functions as much more than that.
To save time (later on), we invest time upfront. In this way we are able to deliver more quickly and be more accurate than ever before. We “draw” the project … actually a better word is CREATE the project … in a real-world-sized, 3-dimensional computer “model” with members extracted from an AISC section library, geometry developed from the engineer’s calculations, and appropriate connections bolted together using bolts, nuts, washers and shim plates, accurately-sized for the required grip lengths. Through this process, a constant accounting of the different pieces used and how they are named and assembled is made and updated in real time. No scaling. No guessing. No trying to remember how things come together from one view to another. And accurately calculate quantities … for ordering, assembling and for shipping.
And another thing … BrIM also carries with it the integrated ability to program via simple export, the machine programming files that drill, burn and cut the steel members and plates that make up our bridge. It is also known as Computer Numerically-Controlled machining, or CNC. We do it and we live by it.
The whole process starts out with one line drawn in a CAD program, but is EFFICIENT once our drawings are released to the shop and it is ACCURATE once our bridge is received in the field and that makes our bridge the best one to build.
WHEN PLANS BECOME REALITY
As an AISC certified fabricator of Major Bridges with Fracture Critical and Sophisticated Paint Endorsements, U.S. Bridge has a proven and reliable fabricating and quality assurance process.
Our Engineering to Fabricating interface program ensures that all design and fabricating details are transferred complete to our computer controlled CNC automated equipment including our CNC Plate Processor, Automated Beam Line, Saw and numerous Robotic Welders. That means the bridge you approved in the plan stage will be the same bridge with the same specs that is fabricated. We have done it time and time again.
With more than 250,000 sq ft of engineering and fabricating facilities including dedicated truss, painting and post and tube centers, located on a 6 acre campus, we meet the on going needs of our customers with a commitment to providing the highest level of quality bridge solutions possible. Integrating a comprehensive workflow procedure throughout the fabricating process, our goal is to continually achieve a “best practice approach” with everything we build. And we have been doing it since 1936.
SHIPPING & ERECTING
BE CAREFUL WITH THAT…YOU COULD HURT SOMEONE
We take this part of your project seriously, as it should be. You should know what to expect and be ready to perform the rigging and erection when the bridge arrives on site.
The bridge will be shipped in assemblies via truck. Usually between 3 and 6 trucks can accommodate a typical bridge depending on span length or whether there are sidewalks or railing assemblies coming with it.
The drawings show what assemblies are coming and they also show what these pieces weigh. From this information, and the available areas you have on site to stage and lift the bridge’s assemblies, you will be able to plan your cranes needs.
GOOD ADVICE COMES FROM EXPERIENCE AND WE’VE GOT IT.
In Ohio, we’ve been building our own steel bridges for over 60 years. Working as a general contractor for many counties and cities in Ohio over that time period, we have installed literally more than a 1,000 steel bridges. Because of that we are able to offer very specialized expertise on the job site with you. This service applies, whether you’ve erected hundreds of steel bridges before, or this is your first one.
We will share with you tips, tricks and best practices that help make the erection go smoothly and the framing to fit up easily. These ideas begin as you unload the field segments and carry through to the last bolt being tightened.