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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!

Proper bridge construction management is necessary to keep a project organized and completed within the budget and schedule. However, managing such a large project such as a bridge’s construction may seem daunting, so we’ve listed some of the best practices for maximizing your chance of success.

Determine the Scope of the Project

Like in any other industry, proper management is essential to a construction project’s success. What’s the best way to pre-plan your project and effectively manage it? Well, a great solution is by working with key stakeholders to determine an accurate scope of the project.

Understanding the scope is one of the first steps in the successful management of bridge construction. This means taking the time to create a thorough breakdown of what’s required for the project such as:

  • Identifying what is within or out of scope.
  • Noting the work required, the team performing the work, and the schedule of its completion.
  • Include any important elements that may impact the outcome.
  • Determining the constraints that might limit or negatively impact the outcome of the project such as resources, procurement issues, timing, etc.

Once you work out the scope, you can now move on to planning project decisions such as deck construction, railing criteria, live loads, etc.

Start Creating Plans and Strategies Early

Your planning process is essentially how you will achieve the goals set out within the scope. The reality is that while a project of the highest quality scope, at the lowest price, done in the least amount of time is ideal, it is difficult to achieve. Hence, a strategy-based process is necessary to achieve your overall objective.

Understanding your project’s success metrics is key to streamlining the decision-making process. In other words, determine project components such as feasibility, procurement, construction, close-out, and more to effectively work towards accomplishing the goal. In addition, as the project progresses you should continually refer to your detailed scope to determine if there are any changes and how they will impact the project. Recognizing and implementing adjustments in a timely manner will help reduce delays and risks.

This means start planning long before the actual construction begins, and continue revising until the end of the project. The design, pre-construction, and procurement stages of a construction project all require meticulous planning — and may need to be revised as the project progresses.

A properly planned out and scheduled project is a well-managed and successful bridge project.

Ensure Quality Construction

The quality of the construction is a big part of its success and reflects your skills in bridge management. Thus, in your planning process, you want to consider options that will create lasting effects. Consider utilizing durability solutions such as special enhancement and treatments. Galvanized or weathered steel is a popular option to slow the process of deterioration.

Not only should you be deciding what materials and methods to use, but who the manufacturer should be. Supply chain management helps you stay organized and save money. This means careful management of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, contractors, and designers.

Pay attention to the order and delivery of materials on-site, the selection of contractors, their involvement in design and planning, and methods used to reduce invoice and transaction costs. In addition, reinforce collaborative methods with those involved in the project to keep the system flowing. This will encourage proper accountability, support, and incentives from supply chain partners.

Starting a project with these practices in mind minimizes disputes and delays. Not to mention, it improves safety and business practices and develops better project relationships.

Trust us to Build your Bridge

Our 80+ years working with various companies all across the world has provided us with the skills and experience needed for even the most challenging projects. We are confident that our engineering and manufacturing expertise will fit the needs of your project. Contact us on our website to learn more about how you can collaborate with us or fill out our exclusive BridgeScope tool for a quick quote.

Bridges play a key role in our lives by connecting our communities, promoting commerce travels, and contributing to our country’s economic development. But who designs these bridges and what does a bridge engineer do?

Bridge Engineers

Bridge Engineers are civil engineers responsible for designing and building bridges and other highway-related structures. Typical tasks for bridge engineers include designing and maintaining bridge structures, minimizing environmental impact, and supervising the fabrication process. As well as completing site investigations, data collection, identifying environmental risks, analyzing manufacturing processes, supervising construction, and more.

Although the exact duties of a bridge engineer may differ, it’s safe to say they’ll always play a critical role in any bridge construction project.

Designing and maintaining a bridge is no easy task. That’s why bridge engineers are required to have skills such as analytical thinking, leadership, supervisory skills, organization, and creativity. Not to mention, time management and budgeting skills which are essential for projects with restricted time or resources.

Bridge Engineering: It’s All About The Details

Meetings & Details

Naturally, the first part of any construction project is understanding the full scope. This meeting typically covers topics and details such as bridge series and styles, special enhancements or treatments, railing criteria, etc. This will help the bridge engineer to draw up some preliminary sketches of the bridge’s general framing plan, bridge geometry, and basic construction.

These designs help illustrate the bridge and prepare the project for its next step.

Digital Renderings

One of the most powerful tools for bridge engineers to utilize is technology. Bridge engineers will often use computers to create virtual models to assist in visualizing a project. This helps the team picture the visual impacts of the bridge to any given site as well as the aesthetic qualities. Our bridge engineers are able to model your proposed bridge over a digital terrain model or incorporate it into photos of your existing site.

This aspect is extremely useful, especially if a construction project requires models to help stakeholders buy-in or make a sale.

Final Process

Once a commitment has been made, the design process officially begins and a team is assigned. The project engineer analyzes the proposed bridge including the specified design loads and appropriate load factors, along with applying numerous code checks. Eventually, the bridge engineer begins to sketch the design details and information for the designer. These sketches convey all the information previously discussed and finalized.

The engineer will also markup the general notes and list the design assumptions and pertinent bridge data onto the title sheet.

Part of this process involves reviewing the design calculations and construction plans to verify the scope and specifications. 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.

Designed for Success at U.S. Bridge

At U.S. Bridge, we’ve been engineering and building bridges for over 80 years. Our engineers have the skills and experience to build bridges in many different styles and sizes to fit the needs of your project. Find out more about how U.S. Bridge has everything you need to make your project a success.

Contact us for a free quote or check our exclusive Bridge Scope tool to start building your project today.

At the start of any construction project, you have to ask what materials and method would best accomplish your goal. You’ve probably come across modular bridge construction and you’ve wondered what is it and should you consider it.

We’ve created a brief introduction to modular construction and its benefits to bridge design.

Modular Construction

Modular construction is any construction that is built in a controlled environment, typically a factory, and later installed on-site. The popularity of modular construction is increasingly rising due to its various advantages such as speed, flexibility, and customization.

Modular construction, sometimes known as prefabricated construction, is built with the same materials and similar methods as regular construction, but often comes with additional features unique to prefabrication. For example, since they are manufactured in a controlled environment modular construction has the advantage of ensured quality.

In addition, because it takes place simultaneously in a factory and on-site, modular construction can be completed in half the time of traditional construction. This rapid construction phase and versatility allow them to be used in various situations.

The combination of ensured quality, speed, and flexibility is why modular construction is often considered a durable and efficient option for builders.

The Benefits of Modular Bridges

Modular bridges are relatively modern and thus have many misconceptions. Despite popular belief, modular bridges do not require the use of already premade sections of limited sizing and options. The great thing about modular bridges is their customization and flexibility.

Every modular bridge is specifically designed custom to your project and design. This customization process makes it a preferred and sometimes even, required option for some bridge projects.

Not to mention, since most of the bridge is premade in a safe environment, the likelihood of weather delays or traffic disruption is significantly decreased. Additionally, it provides workers with safer and more comfortable working conditions. Thus modular bridges offer easy and effective project management. It’s an ideal option for any construction project with time or budget constraints.

Build your Next Bridge with U.S. Bridge

As an industry leader in bridge manufacturing and engineering, we’ve built solutions that can be utilized for any bridge project. We’ve developed Bridge Kits, a DIY solution for accelerated bridge construction that is engineered, designed, manufactured, and galvanized per AISC certifications.

We work with environmentally friendly materials to build strong, long-lasting bridges. Coupled with extensive experience, our team designs, and manufactures high-quality bridges custom to your project.

We’ve been engineering bridges for decades. If you’d like to know more about our Bridge Kits and accelerated bridge construction, please contact us for a free quote or use our exclusive bridge design tool Bridge Scope today.

Ohio's Construction Boom

Economic forecasters predict a slowdown in the construction industry. However, this does not seem to apply to Ohio’s metropolitan area. Our buckeye state is experiencing a construction boom with more than $4 billion in new starts (this year) including nonresidential, residential, and public works projects. According to the president of the Central Ohio chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Columbus area has become the place to do business. So, in order to accommodate the influx of residents, construction companies are hard at work. U.S. Bridge is an Ohio native bridge company. Our mission is to serve communities by engineering and manufacturing steel bridges.

Numbers Don’t Lie

Throughout 2019, Ohio saw an increase in starts. Between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2018, the population of Columbus grew by 13.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • In 2019, nonresidential starts were at $2.6 billion – an increase of 38% from the same period in 2018
  • During 2019, residential starts were valued at $1.4 billion – an increase of 6% from 2018
  • Combined, these numbers amount to a 25% surge in new starts

The numbers are a telling indicator of the need for construction. In fact, at least 300 new projects are in the works for this busy metropolitan area. The modern job market is attracting more and more people, which demands ongoing construction. This includes the healthcare projects and further construction labor taking place at Ohio State University. Additionally, the dollar value of new starts has circled the total for the years of 2008 through 2014! Columbus is experiencing both a population and construction boom that is expected to continue at a quick rate.

Skilled Laborer Shortage

The continuous increase in the city’s population has brought upon a serious issue. There aren’t enough skilled trade laborers to take on the challenge. This inadequacy is driving an increase in project costs and completion times. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the data released from their new survey claims that Ohio construction firms are expecting the construction boom to continue; 90% of companies report that they plan to hire additional workers throughout 2019. However, 88% of that population expect the hiring process to be a challenge. Unfortunately, this has become an issue of qualified workers on top of the existing shortage. Studies show that over one-third of firms agree that a lack of qualified talent is hindering the successful and timely completion of construction projects.

Solutions to Combat this Issue

33% of Ohio state respondents say they are using methods to reduce on-site work time. This includes:

Columbus Construction Boom

While the issue of worker shortage remains, construction in Columbus continues to attract new and existing citizens. So much so, companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook are also participating in the construction boom by extending their headquarters to the Ohio metropolitan area. The city has become known as a modern technology hub, attracting wide groups, especially millennials.

U.S. Bridge Can Assist

U.S. Bridge believes in thoroughly investing in America’s infrastructure. We help to make transportation possible with our durable quality bridges. With 10,000+ completed projects and 80 years of combined construction experience, U.S. Bridge will help make your project a success. In busy cities, like Columbus, that demand the possibility for easy transportation, our bridges serve communities both local and global. Get a quote today to start your next project today.