Posts

Hot Dip Galvanized Steel Vs. Weathering Steel What's The Right Choice

Steel has long played a key role in American construction efforts. Not only is steel lighter in weight than many other building materials on the market, but it also earns points for durability, affordability, and environmental friendliness. Still, bridge builders may struggle with whether to use more traditional weathering steel or increasingly popular hot-dip galvanized steel. Read on to discover how these options stack up.Hot Dip Galvanized Steel Vs. Weathering Steel What's The Right Choice

Benefits and Drawbacks of Weathering Steel

Long a favorite among bridge builders, weathering steel offers numerous advantages over other building types. Strong and attractive, this material rusts in a way that provides protection against the elements. Builders refer to this as “useful corrosion.”

Still, the news about weathering steel isn’t all positive. Progressively corroding, weathering steel can deteriorate faster if moisture is present. To compensate for this loss of mass and strength, builders may need to use thicker sections of steel from the start. Additionally, salt air and humidity can damage weathering steel, resulting in accelerated corrosion.

Benefits of Hot-Dipped Galvanized Steel

Formed by dipping bare steel in molten zinc, hot-dip galvanized steel is a popular choice in bridge construction. Featuring the strength of weathering steel, hot-dip galvanized steel offers additional benefits, too. Barrier and cathodic protection mean that this material resists corrosion. As a result, this option requires less long-term maintenance than weathering steel. Additionally, hot-dip galvanized steel maintains its structure despite exposure to UV rays, snow, water, and soil and is 100 percent recyclable.

Trust U.S. Bridge With All Your Building Needs

As a bridge building leader, U.S. Bridge brings more than 80 years of engineering and manufacturing expertise to the table. We’re passionate about constructing bridges that withstand time and the elements while making use of materials that are safe for the environment. Ready to learn more about our products and services? Call our steel bridge experts today or contact us online for info.

 

Steel Bridges & Their Impact on the Environment

The United States has been relying on steel for generations, and with good reason. Lighter in weight than many building materials, steel is affordable and durable, making it a great option for constructing everything from buildings to bridges. However, at U.S. Bridge, we especially appreciate the environmental benefits of steel. Read on to learn about the big benefits associated with building bridges from steel.

Steel Is Recyclable

The environmental benefits of steel include the fact that the material can be recycled with ease. Because of steel’s unique metallurgic properties, it doesn’t degrade over time like other materials. So, the product can be melted down and recycled for other purposes, while adding less waste. In fact, steel is currently the most recycled material on Earth.

Steel Has Economic Benefits

Another reason that steel is a great building material — and an environmentally friendly one — is that it has economic benefits. Builders can put steel constructions and bridges together quickly and affordably because steel weighs less than other materials. The ability to use less expensive equipment and lifts means money is saved in the long run. Municipal governments and communities can then use these funds for other purposes, like environmental conservation.

Steel Is Durable

It’s hard to save money when you’re constantly having to repair the same buildings or bridges. One of the best reasons to use steel for these projects is that it lasts for decades. This means you won’t have to spend valuable taxpayer dollars replacing the same structures again and again. Additionally, steel is a strong material that’s unlikely to be damaged by inclement weather conditions like storms and hurricanes. Steel even holds up well in the event of an earthquake. Because steel components require less maintenance, you can save money on both supplies and labor. The fewer resources needed to maintain steel, the fewer resources required from the environment.

Learn More About Steel Environmental Benefits

At U.S. Bridge, we create a wide array of bridges for communities throughout the nation. Relying on over 80 years of experience in engineering and manufacturing bridges, we take care to ensure our products stand the test of time. To learn more about the environmental benefits of steel, or what we can do for you, call today or contact us online.

The Economic Benefits Of Bridge Building

Most of us don’t notice much about the bridges and roads that connect our cities and states. However, we would certainly notice if we woke up one day and they weren’t there. Bridges play a crucial role in various aspects of modern life, enabling us to get to work or school and contributing to the country’s economic development. This, of course, is something the American Society of Civil Engineers knows well. Every four years, this all-important group releases a bridge report card, assessing how these structures are holding up. Read on to learn more about bridge economic impact and what we can do to protect these structures moving forward.

Aiding in Infrastructure

Bridge economic impact starts with the way they support the transport of people and goods. Along with allowing companies to ship materials, bridges enable consumers to travel to shops and malls and visit new cities as tourists. When a bridge goes down, the surrounding area experiences a halt in economic activity, as people can no longer purchase goods and services with the same ease.

Supporting the Local Economy

Bridges also support the local economy, thanks to wages paid to construction workers and repair crews. Even the most well-designed bridges require regular cleaning and maintenance. Bridge workers then give this money back to the local community by paying taxes and purchasing local goods and services.

Connecting Communities

Bridge economic impact issues go beyond simple cash flow. Bridges connect people in different communities, allowing them to interact for work or play. This capacity is especially essential for areas where one town has an abundance of raw materials and another has a labor force in need of work. In this way, both people and communities can support one another.

What’s to Come for Our Nation’s Bridges

In assessing the country’s bridges, the American Society of Civil Engineers determined that the average bridge age is rising. As result, the United States will need to spend $120 billion or more to complete the necessary repairs and get all the bridges up to code. That’s where companies like U.S. Bridge can help.

Contact Us for a Consultation

As a leader in bridge design and manufacture, U.S. Bridge helps communities create safe, longer-lasting bridges. Plus, we build many of our bridges using prefabricated panels and assemble them in modules to expedite construction. For more about our services, call today or contact us online.

Those who aren’t familiar with bridge building might think of decks as parts of a ship or the area in the backyard where grills are kept. However, in the industry, we know “deck” is a term for the driving surface of a bridge. Whether constructed from concrete, wood, steel, or open grating, decks that form the driving surface of a bridge need to be strong enough for traffic to cross safely. At U.S. Bridge, we provide a full range of sustainable bridge floor and deck solutions to clients throughout the world. Read on to learn more about the types of decks we offer:

Concrete Deck Slab

When it comes to bridge floor and deck products, the concrete deck slab is one of the most popular. Typically between 7 and 9 inches thick, this deck has two layers of steel reinforcing bars to provide strength and durability.

Asphalt

For this deck type, corrugated steel planks, 3, 5 or 7 gauge, are attached to the stringers of the bridge and become a structural component of the structure.. By galvanizing these planks, the flooring is protected against corrosion. With an asphalt overlay, these types of decks provide a long-lasting, economical, driving surface.

Open Grid Steel Deck

If weight constraints are an issue, open grid steel decking is a wonderful option for a bridge floor. It is characterized by whether the grid is filled, or partially-filled with concrete. If concrete is included, a metal pan or form is included near the base or at mid-height of the grid to support the concrete while it cures.

Precast Concrete Panels

One of the most efficient deck types, precast concrete panels can be constructed quickly and easily. Designed and manufactured off site, these panels can be installed one day and driven over the next. Non-shrink grout is mixed and poured in batches on site.

Nail-Laminated Timber Bridge Floor

Ideal for more rustic locations around the country, these timber decks utilize pressure treated lumber to protect against the elements. Additionally, buyers can opt to cover the deck with asphalt if they choose.

Start Building Your Bridge Today

As a leader in bridge floor and bridge flooring solutions, U.S. Bridge engineers and manufactures steel bridges for a wide range of private and public organizations. You can trust us to create a safe, durable bridge that will stand the test of time. To learn more about what we do, call today or contact us for an online bridge consultation.

Do you live along the coast? If so, taking hurricane season precautions is essential. In fact, the National Hurricane Center calls individuals to prepare for hurricane risks and act on those preparations if they want to stay safe. As a leader in emergency bridge construction, U.S. Bridge is passionate about helping home and business owners protect both themselves and their property in the event of a severe storm. Here are our tips for staying safe, no matter what Mother Nature has in store.

Stock Up on Supplies

One of the best hurricane season precautions you can take is creating an emergency stockpile of supplies. Along with canned foods and bottled water, it is a good idea to set aside batteries, flashlights, warm clothing, and basic first aid supplies. For best results, keep an emergency stash of any medications your family uses regularly, such as painkillers and insulin.

Prepare Your Property

Whether you live on the coast or just keep a vacation home there, it is important to take steps to protect your property from hurricane damage. Start by securing windows and doors with hurricane shutters; you don’t want broken glass flying into your living room. Additionally, you should have a professional inspect your roof. Check for rust and loose anchoring on a metal roof, and have loose roof shingles or tiles nailed down prior to storm season.

Know How to Evacuate

Most people don’t like the idea of abandoning their homes or businesses during a storm. However, if the local government recommends evacuation, it’s best to follow that advice. For best results, don’t wait until the last minute to leave town. Instead, listen for emergency alerts and make a plan for getting elderly family members, kids, and pets out while it’s safe.

Is Your Town Prepared for an Emergency?

At U.S. Bridge, we understand how devastating flooding can be and how important it is to get help fast during a storm. Our Liberty Bridge is made from prefabricated panels, so it can be assembled quickly and easily in an emergency. Ideal for both permanent and temporary purposes, the Liberty Bridge offers an effective way of getting people, animals, and vehicles to safety.  

Contact U.S. Bridge Today

At U.S. Bridge, every product we manufacture reflects our extraordinary attention to detail and a firm commitment to quality. To learn more about our emergency bridges, or what other hurricane season precautions you can take, call today or contact our team today.

Analyzing the life cycle costs of steel vs. concrete bridges is of utmost importance to U.S. Bridge and the infrastructure industry in general. Aside from sustainability and social responsibility, U.S. Bridge is dedicated to using the best materials for the job. Depending on the scope of work and bridge design, the choice between steel or concrete could have a long-lasting impact on the sustainability of the structure.

U.S. Bridge asked Michael G. Barker Ph.D., a professor at the University of Wyoming, to draft a white paper regarding the Life Cycle Costs Analysis (LCCA) of bridges. Of particular interest was the use of hot-dip galvanized steel vs. concrete. The study determined that using HDG steel reduces capital costs by 8.5 percent. Below is the executive summary of the report that provides a good snapshot of the report and its findings. You can download the entire white paper here.

Executive Summary

Since the early 1990s, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has promoted the consideration of Life Cycle Costs Analysis (LCCA) in the design and engineering of bridges. LCCA determines the “true cost” of bridge alternatives considering the time-value of money. The Life Cycle Cost analyses employed in this study uses the Perpetual Present Value Cost (PPVC) of bridge alternatives for an equivalent comparison between the alternatives.

Over the years, the author has worked with state departments of transportation and local county engineers on effective and economical bridge construction. A frequent question that arises during meetings is the difference in Life Cycle Costs between steel and concrete girder bridges. Both the concrete industry and the steel industry cite various anecdotal advantages above the other for the Life Cycle Costs over the life of the bridge. There has historically been a healthy competition between material types for new bridge construction. However, there is industry and owner confusion on how the different types of bridges compare on a Life Cycle Cost basis.

Steel vs. Concrete Bridge Analysis

This study developed useful owner information on historical Life Cycle Costs for typical steel and concrete state bridges in Pennsylvania. Typical bridges defined in the study are:

  • Concrete decks supported by steel rolled beams
  • Steel plate girders
  • Precast concrete boxes
  • Precast concrete beams

PennDOT historical records for bridges built between 1960 and 2010 were used to develop the Life Cycle Cost study database. Initial and maintenance costs considered include total project costs (more than just superstructure) as recorded in the PennDOT records. The PennDOT database used for the Life Cycle Cost analyses only includes a subset of the total bridge inventory. Missing cost and date data for a majority of the individual bridges made total inventory impossible. The database consists of 1,186 state bridges out of 6,587 (18 percent of the eligible inventory) built between 1960 and 2010.

The initial costs, Life Cycle Costs, and future costs of the 1,186 bridges in the database are examined with respect to:

  • Variability in bridge type
  • Bridge length
  • Number of spans
  • Bridge life

Protective coating systems were also used to examine steel bridges. The results must be taken into context since the results only represent the bridges that made it into the database. The database is not as comprehensive or desirable for drawing conclusions. The reader must decide how to interpret the tables and figures showing comparisons of initial costs, Perpetual Present Value Costs, maintenance and future costs, and bridge life.  

Report Conclusion Summary

A conclusion that can be drawn is that all the types of bridges are fairly competitive in both Initial Costs and Perpetual Present Value Costs. The average initial costs vary from $174 per square feet to $226 square feet. The average Perpetual Present Value Costs vary between $218 per square feet (Prestressed I Beam) and $278 per square feet (Prestressed Adjacent Box). The lowest average bridge life was 73 years (Prestressed I Beam) and the longest was 82 years (Steel I Beam). The coefficient of variation (standard deviation/mean) of the PPVC was approximately 20 percent, which is considerably high. With the relatively small differences in the PPVC averages, given the dispersion of the PPVC costs (standard deviation), any of the bridge types may have the least Perpetual Present Value Cost for a given project.

Chance for Further Study

This research was limited to a subset of PennDOT bridges. However, the analyses demonstrate the potential benefits of LCC analysis for bridge construction and management. A study of a more comprehensive database of bridges on the initial costs, Life Cycle Costs and future costs of different types of bridges over a diverse set of circumstances would be very useful for bridge owners and managers. A more comprehensive database would allow for a more accurate comparison of bridge types, design details, such as jointless decks, rebar coatings, steel protection systems, and other construction details.

For more information about this study, as well as the benefits of steel vs. concrete bridges, please contact U.S. Bridge today. You can also download the complete white paper here.