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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.

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.

 

Hurricane Maria Statistics In Puerto Rico

Immediately following the Puerto Rico hurricane, 100 percent of the island was without power. Additionally, parts of the island had become completely isolated due to the loss of bridges and roadways. Many of these structures were either swept away by the storm or deemed unsafe to travel in its aftermath. U.S. Bridge is proud to be part of the rebuilding effort in Puerto Rico. Take a look below to understand the full scope of the damage to Puerto Rico.

 

A Once-In-A-Lifetime Storm

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico for almost three weeks. The Category 5 hurricane had wind gusts of up to 175 MPH and is responsible for more than 1,000 deaths. With such an intense storm assaulting the island, its infrastructure was ill-prepared to handle the amount of flooding; as a result, downed trees and power lines made many roadways impassable. Plus, the lack of power leftmost Island residents without access to refrigerated food and medicine, and with only limited access to news and information regarding the storm.

Rebuilding Roadways

U.S. Bridge built five Liberty bridges in Puerto Rico. The effort required 800 metric tons of steel, all made in the USA, as well as three contractors. Altogether, these bridges accounted for 950 feet of roadway with a design life of 75 years.

USB PR Stats Update May20 2018

Reconnecting Communities

The five bridges are in areas hardest hit by the Puerto Rico hurricane. These areas are:

Each of these bridges passed rigorous requirements as set forth by FEMA, AASHTO and the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). The work in Puerto Rico required the use of three freight companies, two galvanizing companies, and two ship lines.

USB-PR-stats-communities-update-May20-2018

Delivering Relief

U.S. Bridge estimated that the building of the bridges took six weeks. In under two months, U.S. Bridge provided Puerto Ricans with just some of the relief needed to rebuild their lives.

As a leader in bridge design and manufacturing, U.S. Bridge is proud to serve as part of the rebuilding effort. The Puerto Rico hurricane was an unprecedented weather event, and our team of engineers is eager to bring their knowledge and expertise to the task at hand. For more information about U.S. Bridge, please contact us today. For more details regarding U.S. Bridge’s work in Puerto Rico, please see our infographic below. Also, download the high resolution version for printing here.

USB PR Stats Update May20 2018 01

 

Galvanized Steel For Bridges

Bridges are a key element of U.S. infrastructure. They literally keep America moving, ensuring that cross-country trade and interstate travel are easy for everyone. Galvanized steel is one of the most stable and sturdy of all bridge materials, and is thus considered one of the most reliable building materials. U.S. Bridge is proud to use it in our bridge projects. Below we’ll examine what galvanized steel is and why it’s the best material for long-lasting projects.

What is Galvanized Steel?

Galvanizing occurs when steel is treated with heat and bonded to zinc. The act of hot galvanizing the steel helps to prevent corrosion. Also, steel is the fourth most abundant element on Earth and zinc is the 24th, so there is no danger of depleting these elements.

Why use Galvanized Steel?

Aside from its strength, galvanized steel is a sustainable and recyclable. According to studies, galvanized steel components can last, maintenance-free, for over 30 years. Additionally, galvanized steel keeps costs down by requiring less maintenance. Finally, since zinc and steel are such abundant resources, the market is stable, keeping prices stagnant.

How is Steel Galvanized?

Using the “hot-dip” technique, steel is galvanized by being lowered into a vat of liquid zinc. As these vats have gotten bigger, galvanizing larger bridge components has gotten easier. As a result, entire bridges can now be galvanized instead of just smaller parts. This improves the overall bridge longevity.

Is Galvanized Steel Environmentally Friendly?

Yes. Galvanized steel is made of two naturally occurring elements – zinc and steel. The act of galvanizing the steel does not cause either element to deteriorate or become hazardous. Galvanized steel is also virtually 100% recyclable. Finally, the galvanizing process generates no harmful emissions.

U.S. Bridge is a leader in steel bridge design. Our bridges are manufactured using modular design. That means component pieces are transported to and assembled at the worksite. The modular process leads to quicker, more efficient construction. Please contact us today for more information about our bridges or to receive a quote for your next project.