Tag Archive for: bridge deck

Nowadays, bridges have become commonplace in our modern society. They offer great solutions to problems such as carrying heavy loads across long distances or providing a safe route for pedestrians and vehicles. But have you ever wondered how bridges are built? Here’s a quick breakthrough of the main components of a bridge and how they function.

The Main Components

The Type of Superstructure

The main part of a bridge is its superstructure. The superstructure bears the weight of the load as it passes through the bridge. It comprises the deck slab, girders, truss, etc. The specific components vary based on the type of bridge and its materials such as concrete or steel.

Not only does the decking hold the load weight, but it also helps transmit the weight and pressure to the below substructures of the bridge.

The Type of Substructure

The substructure of a bridge is the component that supports the superstructure and distributes the load to the bridge footings and foundation. They consist of piers, abutments, wing walls all of which facilitate the process of transmitting the weight of the load to the earth.

Different Types of Bridges

Although there are various designs of a bridge the main components will always stay the same. The only difference is the pattern or direction in which the pressure is distributed. For example, here’s the difference between the beam and truss bridge.

Beam Bridge

A Beam bridge, sometimes called a stringer or girder bridge, is one of the most basic types of bridge. Its design consists of horizontal beams and vertical piers that typically include two or more spans with an abutment or pier at each end. Beam bridges can be constructed using wood, steel, or concrete and are built for short distances as their only support is from piers.

In this design, the load is compressed on the top of the bridge and then applied down the piers to the earth.

Truss Bridge

A truss bridge design involves interconnected triangles that distribute the weight over a wide space. This unique design allows the truss bridge to carry a heavier weight capacity with fewer materials. These lightweight and durable bridges can be utilized for both short and long distances.

Truss bridges function by transferring the weight of the load from a single point to a wider area. When the load is applied to the truss bridge the pressure is shared among the triangular designs for additional support and then redirected to the earth through the bridge’s substructure. 

Build with U.S. Bridge

At U.S. Bridge, we work with the highest quality materials and engineers when designing and building bridges. Not to mention, our bridges are well-made, easy to maintain, and available in a variety of design and support types.

With decades of experience and our team of dedicated experts, you can feel confident in trusting an industry leader to build your bridge. Contact us today for a free quote or use our exclusive Bridgescope tool!

Bridge Decking

Bridges are an essential part of transportation, but each has its own job. With the various bridge decking systems, it can be difficult to decide which material is the best for your bridge construction project.

The choice of bridge decking and flooring for your bridge is important to the aesthetics and functionality of the construction. U.S. Bridge is here to help you make these important decisions before your bridge construction.

Below, we detail each of U.S. Bridge’s bridge decking options for consideration.

Steel Bridge Decking

Steel decking systems provide many noteworthy advantages such as durability, efficiency and rapid construction. This bridge decking is versatile and prefabricated. With prefabrication, parts are built off-site then transported to the designated location. 

Thus, as metal decks are lightweight in comparison to other materials such as concrete, it requires less substructural support thus saving money. Grid steel decking is categorized by whether it is “filled”, “partially-filled” or “unfilled” with concrete as a protective encasement. 

In addition to economic benefits, the metal decking system has great environmental benefits. Steel is one of the most recyclable materials in construction. Unlike other materials, recycled steel does not degrade and is reused at the same level as newly manufactured steel. 

Corrugated Steel Bridge Plank

This bridge decking system is used on beam or truss bridges. Each 3”-4.25” plank has specially formed flange that allows for proper overlapping. The planks are cut to match the bridge width and skew. Then, they are hot-dip galvanized after fabrication for long-lasting corrosion protection. 

These planks are typically filled with asphalt paving or concrete to create a wearing surface for traffic. With proper paving details, this is a very economical, long-lasting bridge decking option.

Exodermic Deck

Exodermic bridge decking is a lightweight system that combines a poured structural concrete slab with characteristics of open grid steel decks. This system is substantially lighter than a typical steel bridge decking system. Thus, exodermic bridge decking is a great option for projects with weight limiting constraints, while still maintaining long-lasting strength.

Concrete Bridge Decking

As a local resource, concrete is one of the most common materials chosen for bridge construction. A concrete deck slab is often obtainable both precast or cast-in-place. A precast concrete deck is both a low cost and time efficient option with an accelerated construction timeline. 

The concrete slab is reinforced with two layers of steel bars which are typically coated with epoxy for corrosion protection. Concrete is naturally durable and long-lasting which makes it a standard for many environments, such as bridges over saltwater. Its enduring nature allows concrete to withstand high temperatures and resist deterioration. 

Precast Concrete Plank

Precast concrete plank decking is a very low-cost and quick construction option for accelerated bridge construction. These are designed to be installed in one day to open to traffic by the end of the second day. 

The planks are sized to be lifted using light excavating equipment and attached to the steel superstructure. The precast concrete planks attach to the steel superstructure through headed studs and grout pockets formed in the plank. Quick setting, non-shrink grout can be mixed in batches on-site and poured easily.

Nail-Laminated Timber Floor

Timber deck systems are great for rural settings such as trails, forest roads. Along with rustic areas, they are great for areas with low traffic and limited weight capacity. Weather protection, heat resistance, and mold growth are all prevented by treating the timber.

Timber is lightweight and easy to work with. In addition, U.S. Bridge will supply the timber, nails, and attachment clips. Keep in mind that timber decks have a limited span range in comparison to other materials such as metal. However, the timber may remain exposed or it can be topped with asphalt paving.

Bridge Decking Done Right

See a bridge decking system that fits your construction? Or do you still have questions about the right decking option? Contact us or for more information on our bridges and services, or take a look at our detailed reports on our flooring options and assembly plans.