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Earth Day: Environmental Impact of Construction

It’s no surprise that construction has a huge impact on the environment. Although many structures can not be built sustainably today, we should still try to reduce our environmental footprint for tomorrow. However, you may be surprised to find how easy it is to reduce the environmental impact of construction, especially bridge construction!

Here are some ways bridge construction can reduce environmental impact, and ways U.S. Bridge aims to build sustainable, eco-friendly bridges.

Use Sustainable Materials

Steel Bridge

This easily adaptable material is a popular choice for many bridges due to its affordability, strength, and positive environmental impact. The great thing about steel is that it is both lightweight and incredibly durable. Its lightweight means that often, no cranes or large machinery is needed for steel construction — thus less invasion on surrounding environments.

Steel’s enduring nature guarantees it can withstand large amounts of weight which is why it can be used for any construction project. And as added bonus, the weight of steel makes installation easier by keeping road disruption at a minimum.

Steel’s Environmental Benefits

One of the best parts about steel is that it is the most recyclable material in the world.

Almost all steel construction incorporates recycled steel, which has proven its strength as equivalent to virgin steel. Its popularity and eco-friendly status are often why steel is considered affordable for many project builders. Additionally, builders save money on maintenance and repair due to steel’s long life span, as it does not degrade over time as quickly as other materials.

Plastic Bridges

Many countries around the world are striving to reduce their environmental impact within their industry. From this idea, construction companies are testing the effectiveness of using recycled plastic to construct a bridge.

Located in Scotland, the Easter Dawyck Bridge is the longest in the world built using recycled plastic. This completely recyclable bridge was constructed by recycling over 100,00 lbs. of waste and can hold the weight of vehicles up to 88,000 lbs.

The Easter Dawyck Bridge wielded great results as the recycled material is both light and extremely durable. Reports indicate that it does not corrode, does not rust, does not require painting nor any form of treatment or maintenance.

There are many benefits to using recycled plastics in road applications such as reduced energy consumption, reduced waste to landfills, and alleviating the need for use of creating new materials for future projects. However, there is still much uncertainty about the performance and long-term durability of recycled plastic bridges with different traffic loading and environmental conditions.

So why don’t we see more recycled bridges? Its biggest obstacle is the high price tag that comes with making it. That’s why U.S. Bridge sticks with steel.

Environmentally-Friendly Construction Methods

Just using sustainable materials isn’t enough. Take the step further and ensure that you are incorporating environmentally-friendly methods in bridge construction processes.

Develop a green design that considers the long-term impact of the bridge, along with the economic aspects, to ensure that the positive benefits can be maintained over the long term. This means that you should consider the environmental issues and conditions that can arise during its lifespan, construction phase, and maintenance.

Ask yourself if you are doing all you can to limit the effect of stormwater and other runoff? What steps can you take to better manage construction waste? Partner with other companies that may use your leftover products so that nothing goes to waste.

Accelerated Bridge Construction and Bridge Kits

An easy way to reduce your environmental impact in bridge construction is with accelerated bridge construction. The installation and construction process of a bridge consumes large amounts of fuel, increases exhaust emissions, incurs traffic delays, and affects pavement performance. Using accelerated bridge kits to quickly build a safe and dependable bridge will significantly cut the environmental footprint of the project. Not to mention, it saves builders time during the installation phase of construction.

Building with an Impact at U.S. Bridge

Here at U.S. Bridge, we believe in building bridges that positively affect the community and that will last decades. That’s why we offer a wide selection of prefabricated bridges specifically designed for your project. We work directly with companies around the world — without middlemen — to engineer, manufacture, and construct steel bridges.

If you would like to know more about our construction process or bridge design feel free to contact us. Also, check out our exclusive bridge scope tool designed to provide a free quote in just five minutes!