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Benefits Of ABC

Bridge construction is essential to continue rapidly improving America’s infrastructure. With innovative building techniques and effective procedures, there are constantly new cost-effective ways to increase efficiency. That’s where the benefits of accelerated bridge construction (ABC) come into play.

Accelerated bridge construction is a complete shift in how bridges are planned by fully preparing materials to be installed at the bridge site. There are several benefits of accelerated bridge construction over traditional bridge construction — above all are safety, quality, social costs, and the environmental impact.

That’s why U.S. Bridge offers Bridge Kits as a solution for a quick construction time with the same high-quality durability our bridges are known for. Below, we explain the benefits of accelerated bridge construction and why it might be right for your next bridge project. Overall, these benefits reduce bridge construction costs by shortening project time.

Most Significant Benefits of Accelerated Bridge Construction

Here are some of the benefits of accelerated bridge construction:

  1. Shortened bridge project delivery time
  2. Reduce construction impact on traffic
  3. Increase work-zone safety
  4. Prefabricated components require less maintenance
  5. Lower environmental impact

#1: Shortened bridge project delivery time

This is why it’s called accelerated bridge construction — it’s faster than traditional methods. However, it’s equally if not more effective than traditional building.

With precise construction management, prefabricating the bridge parts, and shipping all the parts to the job site, bridge construction time is reduced significantly. With proper planning, bridge parts can be easily installed on-site. This saves time and money throughout the process by completing the project as quickly as possible.

#2: Reduce construction impact on traffic

Highway and other roadway work zones are hazardous for both motorists and for workers. However, as the condition of America’s infrastructure continues to decline, there continues to be long closures to critical roads across the nation. Moreover, this causes delays for everyday drivers, emergency vehicles, and local businesses can suffer from altered nearby traffic patterns.

Ultimately, traffic is unavoidable for Americans, but it can be made slightly better with ABC. With faster construction times thanks to prefabricated parts, construction can move from start to finish in a more timely manner.

#3: Increase work-zone safety

With extended road and lane closures comes increased risk for traffic accidents involving motorists and workers. Each year, there are 2,000 fatal accidents in work zones. With prefabricated parts and a plan to easily construct the bridge, there is less time spent with changes in traffic patterns. Additionally, it’s beneficial for workers on site.

“Now we’re also seeing safety benefits,” Bala Sivakumar, resident ABC expert at HNTB, said to ConstructionDive.com. “It’s a lot safer to do an ABC project because [workers] are not next to traffic or 50 to 100 feet above ground tying rebar or trying to pour concrete.”

#4: Prefabricated components require less maintenance

Prefabricated bridge components are engineered and manufactured specifically for Bridge Kits — our ABC solution. Thus, these parts go through a thorough quality control process to ensure they are ready for on-site construction. While on-site work is held to a high-standard, prefabrication is done in a controlled environment and removed from environmental elements.

With ABC and a thoroughly managed process, we can build bridges that last even longer than traditional building styles.

#5: Lower environmental impact

Another plus to shorter construction time is the significantly reduced impact on the environment. With less time with heavy equipment on-site, the impact to the surrounding environment is significantly reduced. As a result, building accelerated bridge construction lends itself to environmentally-sensitive areas.

Let’s Piece it Together

U.S. Bridge proudly delivers on long-lasting bridge construction projects around the world. We regard every detail of your bridge with a high level of attention and efficiency to ensure it’s high-quality.

With our Bridge Kits, we make bridge installation easy for teams who have the labor and equipment but need manufacturing and engineering. Now, we’re delivering everything needed for bridge construction right to job sites globally.

If you’d like to know more about our Bridge Kits and accelerated bridge construction, please contact us today for a free quote.

Rural Roads And Bridges

Rural roads and bridges are an essential component of the U.S. economy. They connect the country and support a network of product transportation that is vital to our nation. Despite its importance, America’s rural transportation network lacks the necessary funds for proper infrastructure maintenance

The design of rural bridges and highways is often suited for lower-weight vehicles. However, due to the growing numbers and weight of freight trucks this rural infrastructure is in danger of rapid deterioration. Increased government investment into rural roads and bridges would benefit the United States’ economy and keep communities safely connected.

Why are Rural Roads so Important?

America Counts Staff research shows that the United States rural regions consist of nearly 97 percent of America’s landmass, the majority of which are dedicated to farming. As a result, America’s rural regions transport a sustainable pipeline of food, energy, and other products that aid the entirety of the U.S. economy. 

Not only are the goods and services that these roads join vital, but the transportation network itself creates numerous job opportunities. Tourism is another beneficial aspect of rural transportation as rural roads provide access to tourist destinations such as national parks, outdoor recreational activities, and scenic vacations.  

Connecting the U.S. with Rural Roads

As shown, the significance of rural roads is instrumental in the support of America’s stability and food supply. However, the volume of rural transportation has the potential for improvement. This improvement would allow for further capacity for economic growth with the construction of additional roads. According to a study from TRIP, a National Transportation Research Group, 66 U.S. cities with a population of 50,000 or more do not have direct access to the Interstate Highway System

Rural transportation connectivity is indispensable for additional economic development and would provide a positive impact to rural residents. Due to the lack of connectivity, rural communities are affected by distance and limited access to medical facilities and emergency response services.

Safety Concerns on Rural Roads

As the number of jobs, population, and use of these rural highways increases, the roads are not able to meet the swell of demand. Many rural roads are two lanes and aren’t intended to carry the weight of heavy trucks or other vehicles. 

According to a study from TRIP, 13 percent of America’s rural roads have pavements in poor condition. Nearly one out of 12 of the nation’s rural bridges need rehabilitation, repair or replacement. In addition, the same study also found that the amount of traffic accidents in rural regions are nearly double than those in urban areas. 

Reasons that could attribute to these alarming numbers include narrow lanes, limited shoulders, sharp curves, and exposed hazards. These features are common in rural infrastructure and require funding to incorporate desirable safety qualities.

Challenges with Funding

An increase in funds is essential in order to enhance the reliability and safety of these rural roads, highways,and bridges. 

A United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) report shows that the nation’s annual expenditure for infrastructure should be increased by almost 28 percent. However, reaching this number will be challenging as the effects of COVID-19 reduces transportation revenue. 

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials reports that state revenues are decreasing due to the pandemic. The reduction in vehicle usage triggers a decrease in gasoline tax, turnpike toll, vehicle rental, and sale tax collections, among others. As a result, states are revising their maintenance funding and road investments. 

Let’s Build Rural Infrastructure

Rural roads and bridges are essential to the U.S. economy and businesses everywhere. With a quality rural infrastructure system, communities and businesses can stay connected.

U.S. Bridge has been serving communities for more than 80 years, building bridges that withstand time. Our bridge experts will advise you on the best option for your bridge. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can make your bridge project a long-lasting success.

Hot Dip Galvanized

A new bridge is a piece of infrastructure that will serve communities and transportation for decades. They must be built to last with the strongest and most durable materials. With hot-dip galvanizing, U.S. Bridge builds bridges that minimize maintenance and long-term durability regardless of the environment.

We’ve been galvanizing bridges since 1987, and we were the first to hot-dip galvanize an entire welded truss bridge. By bonding zinc to our U.S.-manufactured steel, we’re building long-lasting, reliable bridges with a sustainable process.

The Galvanizing Process

To galvanize steel, thorough cleaning of the steel is absolutely necessary. This is because zinc will only react with clean steel during the hot-dip process. Areas that are not perfectly clean will interfere with the process.

Before the Hot-Dip

Before hot-dip galvanizing, the surface must be prepared. This process includes degreasing, pickling, and fluxing.

Degreasing is the first step in cleansing the steel. It remotes dirt, oils, and organic residue. Next is pickling, which removes the iron oxides and scales from the steel’s surface to expose a bare area for galvanizing. Finally is the fluxing process, which prepares the steel for the hot-dip phase by applying a protective saline layer.

Hot-Dip Galvanizing

After the cleaning process, the steel is immersed in a kettle bath of 85% pure molten zinc at 830° F. The zinc reacts with the iron steel to form metallurgically-bonded coating. Once the steel reaches the bath temperature, the bonding is complete.

Once the steel cools down, an inspection verifies that it conforms to specifications. This includes a visual inspection and a magnetic thickness gauge that measures the coating.

Galvanizing Improves Bridge Life Cycle

The cost of hot-dip galvanized steel is roughly the same as painting a bridge. While a quality paint coat must be touched up, zinc-coated steel does not need maintenance over the bridge’s life.

However, the galvanized steel eliminates corrosion for up to 100 years in many cases. According to one study, the future maintenance of bridges can be reduced by 50% with galvanizing. With galvanized steel, the average service life is 8.5% longer. In fact, at U.S. Bridge, we have a 35-year warranty on our galvanized steel beam bridges — we’re that confident in lasting quality of galvanization.

Environmentally-Friendly

There are several environmental advantages to hot-dip galvanizing, beyond just the financial and durability impact. The key to sustainable construction of bridges is to continually lower the environmental impact of producing products. This is possible with zinc and steel.

Both zinc and steel are two naturally occurring, abundant elements. Ore — which steel is composed of — is the fourth-most abundant element on Earth. Zinc is 24th. Both are infinitely recyclable without the loss of physical or chemical properties. These materials can be used over and over without compromising their integrity.

With less maintenance, galvanizing will also prevent potentially harming environments during maintenance and traffic delays.

Build Sustainable Bridges with U.S. Bridge

In summary, hot-dip galvanizing steel is about the savings on the life-cycle of your bridge and the environmental benefits. With decades of experience in hot-dip galvanizing, we guarantee the highest level of quality in our steel bridge parts.

U.S. Bridge has been serving communities for more than 80 years, building bridges that withstand time. Our bridge experts will advise you on the best option for your bridge. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can make your bridge project a long-lasting success.

Bridge Deck Designs: The Benefits of Steel

The choice of material for your bridge deck construction is critical for the lifespan of the bridge. There are several reasons why steel may be the right choice for your bridge deck. At U.S. Bridge, we have various custom options for the floor and deck of our bridge constructions to ensure our bridges are sustainable long-term, including many steel solutions.

What is a Bridge Deck?

A bridge deck is the surface of the bridge that will serve as a roadway for vehicles, bikes, or pedestrians. To guarantee safety for traffic, these decks must be sturdy enough to withstand constant pressure. There are two primary structure types for bridge decks: bridge decks cast on top of beams or stringers and superstructure systems in which the top of the superstructure forms the top of the driving surface.

U.S. Bridge builds custom bridge decks depending on the project, from concrete deck slabs to open grid steel decks to nail-laminated timber floors. The most commonly constructed deck is the concrete deck slab. These structural slabs are designed to be between seven and nine inches thick and are reinforced with steel bars.

Steel Bridge Decks

U.S. Bridge uses corrugated steel bridge planks for beam or truss bridges, and these can later be filled with asphalt or concrete for traffic. Another common type of steel deck is open grid steel bridge flooring.

These decks are very common and are easy to install. These are lightweight sections of steel that increase bridge support for large weights traveling across the bridge. The steel grids are filled or partially filled with concrete or asphalt, or they can be left unfilled.

Steel Bridge Decks are Easy to Install

Open grid steel bridge decks are manufactured in sections before being delivered and installed at the bridge site. The connections between the panels are bolted or welded, though bolted connections are preferred. Thus, metal bridge decking is ideal for tight construction schedules and quick installation processes. Even so, steel bridge decks allow for innovative solutions when building your bridge.

Steel is Environmentally Friendly

Steel is one of the most environmentally-friendly materials used in bridge construction. Not only is it used in bridge decks, but it’s frequently used in the superstructure of U.S. Bridges. Raw material for steel bridges often come from scrap or recycled steel. New steel bridge construction in the U.S. annually uses 350,000 tons of scrap metal. This recycled steel is equally as sturdy as newly manufactured steel. Not only is much of the material recycled, but no steel is ever wasted, as each piece is manufactured for a specific destination.

Longer spans are also achievable with steel to cross streams, lakes, and other wetlands. In turn, longer spans reduce the number of piers necessary and reduce environmental impact. Steel is highly-adaptable material and can be used in various climates. In addition to the environmental benefits, building with light-weight steel is much safer and faster.

Steel Bridge Decks are Cost-Effective

In general, bridges with steel components drastically reduce the life cycle cost of the bridge. For municipalities, faster construction reduces construction time, as well as traffic and community disruption. In the long term, steel components are shown to require less maintenance than concrete. Since steel is lighter weight, it takes lighter equipment to construct, which also saves money.

Historically, the most vulnerable part of a bridge is the deck. However, this is changing with new bridge engineering. Engineers now have a better understanding of fatigue behavior, and how to build steel bridges that can last long without major maintenance. Additionally, high-performance steels are developed specifically for bridges to increase toughness and durability.

Start Building Your Bridge Today

Want to bring your bridge project to life? At U.S. Bridge, we offer a wide range of prefabricated bridge styles to meet your needs. Whether your setting is urban or rural, modern or traditional, we can help you achieve your goals while creating a lasting impression.

Recently, we have introduced our Bridge Kits, which are a DIY bridge solution for the time-constrained bridge construction. We manufacture and ship the bridge parts, then the material is installed by your own crews. Ready to get started? Call today or contact the U.S. Bridge team online.