Temporary vs Permanent Bridge Construction | U.S. Bridge

If you’re attempting to restore an existing bridge or trying to replace a destroyed bridge, you may be wondering if you should erect a permanent bridge or a temporary one. Most likely, you’re thinking of building a temporary bridge construction until the permanent construction is done — but does that really save money?

What exactly is the difference between temporary and permanent bridge construction? With advancements in technology, specifically accelerated bridge construction, many projects can forgo a temporary bridge — often saving millions of dollars.

Let’s break down the main differences between permanent and temporary bridge construction.

Time: How soon do you need the bridge?

Generally, temporary bridges are quick to erect and dismantle as they are often used in emergency scenarios. That being said, temporary bridges take away time and money from permanent constructions. With just a few more weeks, a permanent bridge can be built without the added effort of a temporary bridge. This can save taxpayers and local governments by forgoing them whenever possible.

Many temporary and permanent bridge construction are pre-assembled if they are made with prefabricated bridge kits. This saves builders time during the planning and construction phase.

Additionally, prefabricated kits manufactured by U.S. Bridge ensure the addition of a U.S. Bridge team member to oversee the construction, to make it efficient and effective.

Affordability: How does it affect your budget?

Recently, more and more bridges are completed with prefabricated construction and are produced with lightweight materials such as steel. This means that less heavy equipment is required for installation. For example, our bridge kits are assembled before they reach the job site.

Ultimately, the erection of a temporary and permanent bridge is more expensive since builders are erecting two structures rather than one.  Builders can save money by investing in a prefabricated permanent bridge rather than erect a temporary bridge.

Longevity: How long do you need the bridge?

Temporary bridges are just that: temporary structures. Its integrity is intended for a select period of time and in comparison to permanent bridges — which are meant to last for generations — it isn’t suited for nearly the same amount of constant traffic use. Temporary bridges may need frequent examinations to ensure that the bridge is able to hold the weight of daily traffic.

The life span of any construction will depend on the level of maintenance kept. Several elements such as the location, weather, and usage frequency all contribute to the erosion of a bridge. Additionally, the longevity of a bridge is determined by the material used. Builders can aid in the prevention of erosion by protecting their bridges with galvanization or other preventative methods.

Since each bridge varies, builders should seek the manufacturer for specific instructions on installation and long-term maintenance.

Build your bridge with U.S. Bridge

With over 80 years in the bridge construction industry, U.S. Bridges has designed, engineered, and built over 10,000 bridges worldwide. We’ve built various bridges from prefabricated to permanent construction such as the Mulholland Highway Bridge in Los Angeles County and the Marble Cliff bridge in Columbus, Ohio.

In addition, to facilitate the building process we design custom prefabricated Bridge Kits that come with one of our experienced team members to assist construction. We build each bridge to fit your specific needs. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can make your bridge project a long-lasting success.

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 “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.

Transportation Infrastructure

Drivers in America drove over 3.2 trillion miles in 2018 — an average of some 14,000 miles per licensed driver. But much of these travels are along a U.S. transportation infrastructure that is quickly deteriorating and needs federal funding.

According to an April update from TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit based in Washington D.C., “the need for transportation improvements far outpaces the amount of state and federal funding available.” As of 2020, 43% of major roads in the U.S. are in poor or mediocre condition. In addition, 7% of bridges are in poor or structurally deficient condition.

U.S. Transportation Infrastructure is falling behind

In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers assessed the condition of America’s roads as a D grade. Additionally, overall condition was given a D+. In three years since, vehicle travel has increased 17%. But new traffic has failed to be mitigated, with only a 5% increase in new roadways constructed.

The effect? 6.9 billion hours a year in traffic. On average, it costs $603 per year for each American motorist, according to the TRIP data. This is despite the state Department of Transportations spending more building new roads than maintaining the ones they have that are in bad condition.

“Most systems that make up our network of interstate highways are at least 50 years old, so there has to be substantial reinvestment to make sure those assets can keep up with daily wear and tear,” Jim Tymon, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, said to the New York Times.

Voting for improved roads

The backlog for transportation infrastructure improvement has a great effect on voters. In 2018, 270 of 305 transportation-related state and local ballot measures were approved, according to the Transportation Investment Advocacy Center.

Clearly, there is a need for more funding on every government level. And it’s the every-day civilian motorist that’s feeling the effect.

Why improve roads and bridges?

Roads and bridges are essential parts of America’s economy. Bridges transport trillions of dollars in goods every year, create jobs, connect communities, and allow motorists to travel feely. These central parts of the U.S. economy are in critical need of repair and improvement, and these improvements can create economic recovery.

Boost the economy

The design, construction and maintenance of America’s roads and bridges supports approximately 4 million full-time jobs. By investing into transportation infrastructure, the government can create valuable jobs. In the long-term, this will enhance economic competitiveness and stimulate sustained job growth.

Improve road safety

Between 2014 and 2018, an average of 35,784 people died on America’s roadways. A contributing factor to these accidents is the lack of adequate roadways safety features.

According to a 2017 report, every $100 million spent on roadway improvements would reduce the number of traffic fatalities by 44 and serious traffic injuries by 760 over a 20-year period. Not only are motorists losing precious time due to a decrepit transportation system, many have lost their lives.

With safety improvements such as passing lanes, wider lanes, medians, turning lanes, and clearing roadside objects, many accidents and costs to motorists can be avoided.

COVID-19 and Transportation Infrastructure

Due to roads being less busy during the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have pushed to fast-track infrastructure construction projects. In many places this has been successful, and many projects are being completed faster than originally planned.

However, once roads return to relative normality, the long-term effect of COVID-19 could be catastrophic to transportation infrastructure. Keep in mind, the fast-tracked projects were previously approved. With state budgets taking a large hit, it’s likely states will cut back on large infrastructure investments in the coming months and even years.

Budget loss due to COVID-19

As a result of the drop in traffic, state Departments of Transportations are estimated to lose an average of 30% of transportation revenues over the next 18 months. Some will lose even more. Meanwhile, the American Public Transportation Association has requested $24 billion to cover operational costs for hard-hit transportation agencies. With a recent grade of D+ for infrastructure, losing this time in improving the nation’s infrastructure could be catastrophic and even deadly in the long-term.

Improve America’s Transportation Infrastructure

The time for federal agencies to invest in America’s infrastructure is now. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government was in talks to pass a $760 billion five-year plan to invest in infrastructure. An investment of this magnitude is no longer optional — it’s essential to maintain our transportation infrastructure.

Not only will it create jobs and economic opportunity, but it will save countless lives as the roads and bridges improve over time. Countless industries have received federal stimulus and aid during this time. To ensure a safe future, infrastructure must be one of them.

U.S. Bridge is proud to contribute sustainable solutions to America’s infrastructure. Our bridges are sustainable and safe, making transportation possible for people everywhere. Get a quote from us for your next bridge project or learn more about our steel bridges. Together, we’ll build a better future for America’s infrastructure.