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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!

Best and Worst Bridge Infrastructure

One of the most important components of every state government is its commitment to road and bridge infrastructure. The road and bridge infrastructure keeps this vast country connected and allows trade routes to boost our economy

But not each of those infrastructures is equal. Furthermore, not every state is as committed to road and bridge infrastructure as others. Many states have seen their road and bridge infrastructure decline in recent decades, while others reinforce existing infrastructure.

Here are a few of the states with the best and worst transportation infrastructure in the U.S.

States with the Best Road and Bridge Infrastructure

1. Nevada

Spending the national average for state roads, Nevada wins the title of the state with the best road and bridge infrastructure in the United States. The percentage of structurally deficient road and bridges in Nevada are both some of lowest in the nation. According to USA Today in 2019, just 1.3 percent of Nevada’s roads were in poor condition, third-lowest. Only 1.4 percent of the state’s bridges were structurally deficient, second-lowest among states. Of course, Nevada’s status as a thinly-populated state heavily attributes to the quality of road condition.

2. Tennessee

Listed in the top three states with the best infrastructure is Tennessee. As one of the few states where less than 5 percent of their roads are in poor condition, Tennessee actually spends less than the national average in road maintenance. Tennessee was ranked second among states in road quality and eighth in bridge infrastructure quality by U.S. News.

As such, some researchers such as MoneyGeek pose the theory that there is no direct correlation between the money states spend and road conditions.

3. Florida

Following in Tennessee’s footsteps is the state of Florida. Less than 10 percent of Florida roads are in poor condition. Like Tennessee, Florida spends less than the national average on transportation infrastructure. U.S. News ranked the sunshine state seventh in road quality and third in bridge infrastructure quality.

A big contributor to this is the weather climate in the south. Unlike northern states, Florida endures very little cold weather and there is no salting of roads to affect them.

States with the Worst Road and Bridge Infrastructure

1. Rhode Island

Rhode Island is ranked second in population per capita in the United States among states. Maybe that’s why it ranks as the top state with the worst road and bridge infrastructure. Roughly 53 percent of roads and 23 percent of bridges are considered deficient in Rhode Island, which means they could be unsafe for many motorists. U.S. News ranked Rhode Island 49th in road quality and dead last in bridge quality.

Constant use of state roads by the dense population contributes to the deteriorating roads. In addition, Rhode Island spends less money than most states on public infrastructure.

2. New Jersey

Despite spending 57 percent of their budget on highway repairs, New Jersey is still considered one of the worst states in road and bridge infrastructure. New Jersey has the fourth-highest percentage of roads in poor condition, and the third-highest travel time to work, at 32 minutes. Similar to Rhode Island, it is believed that New Jersey’s dense population and congested roads are the main reasons behind its declining infrastructure.

3. California

It’s not surprising that California appears in the list of states with the worst road infrastructure. As the most populated state in our country, it makes sense that its congested roads are deteriorating quickly. Almost 45 percent of California’s roads rate as in poor condition. They are 48th in road condition in the United States., with 16.9 percent of roads in poor condition. However, the state does get a tick up in its bridge infrastructure, coming in at 19th according to U.S. News.

Why does Bridge Infrastructure Matter?

Each state chooses a specific amount to allocate towards road and bridge infrastructure. However, many components can affect this number. On average, states spend about eight percent of their budget on road repairs and infrastructure. The money for this is levied from tolls and gas tax. That being said, 2020’s national shutdown due to COVID-19 created a significant dent in states’ reservoir as individuals began working from home.

Infrastructure affects things like our economy and public safety. The worse a state’s road infrastructure, the more likely for drivers on the road. State governments intend for roads and bridges to be a reliable and safe transportation network. However, a study by MoneyGeek revealed that state funds are allocated towards maintaining, and often not improving deteriorating roads.

Build with U.S. Bridge

At U.S. Bridge, we pride ourselves on building bridges and adding to infrastructure that will last for decades. We understand the importance of our country’s infrastructure. That’s why we contribute sustainable solutions to America’s infrastructure. We manufacture, engineer and build bridges to withhold time, weather, and sustain the everyday toll of traffic.

Contact us today for a free quote, or use our exclusive bridge scope tool for a free quick estimate. Let’s build reliable transportation infrastructure together.

Bridge Engineering

No one wants to make something twice. That’s why it’s so important to build it to perfection the first time, especially if it’s something time-consuming and expensive such as a bridge. With extensive experience in bridge engineering, bridge construction can be effortless and efficient.

At U.S. Bridge, we’ve been engineering and building bridges for over 80 years. Here’s how our bridge engineering process leads to seamless bridge construction.

The Bridge Engineering Process

Understanding the Problem

There are several different reasons to build a bridge. It could be to connect communities or provide a secure commerce route for heavy trucks. Regardless, the first step for the bridge design team is to understand why the bridge is being built. What problem is it meant to solve?

Once our team of engineers understands this, then they can move forward in designing a bridge that will properly address the reason for the bridge.

Understanding the problem also allows engineers to answer other questions such as where and how. It’s the first step to designing the final product.

Determining the Scope

After knowing more about the problem, our engineers create and compare different solutions to the problem. This includes analyzing what design would work best for the bridge and the pros and cons of each option. Then they also consider other factors like the weight of the materials and how the environment would affect the bridge.

We establish elements like the structural capacity, environmental impact, and constructibility of the bridge. In the final analysis, all of these factors and more are carefully considered to determine the scope of the bridge construction project.

The Actual Design Process

Once the scope of the project has been determined, then our engineers are able to begin the design process. Theories of solutions materialize as we calculate the details on elevation, span lengths, deck widths, vertical clearances, and bridge structure among other logistics.

In addition, we also create virtual models to enable our customers to visualize their project.

This is also the part where we create an initial budget analysis for our clients. These calculations are vital to the bridge design process. Budgets are how we ensure the project is ideal for the bridge owner’s needs before proceeding to the construction phase.

The Bridge Construction Process

Our various manufacturing options provide a solution for various projects and budgets. From timber bridges to prefabricated steel, we design, manufacture, and build them all. Following the decisions finalized during the design phase, we begin the construction process. Our bridge supplies are shipped worldwide and our team is present during construction to guarantee its execution.

With more than 250,000 sq ft of engineering and fabricating facilities including dedicated truss, painting, and post and tube centers, located on a 6-acre campus, we provide the highest level of quality bridge available.

Throughout the entire process, we work directly with our clients and communicate with all members of the project for an effortless process.

Perfect Bridge Engineering with U.S. Bridge

Our bridge engineering expertise makes the bridge construction and design process effortless. Save yourself time and money by partnering with an industry leader in steel bridge design and construction.

U.S. Bridge has completed more than 10,000 bridge projects and has experience working in more than 50 countries. Our team engineers and builds bridges of many different styles and sizes. All of our designs are custom-made to fit the needs of our customers.  Contact us today to receive your free quote!

Bridge Railing

With so much going into a project, bridge railing may appear to be an afterthought for bridge construction. But like choosing the right deck material, bridge railing proves to be vital for every bridge design.

At U.S. Bridge, we have several options for bridge railing to best fit each of our construction projects.

Common Types of Bridge Railing

A bridge’s railing depends on various factors such as location, material, and purpose. The railing adds safety for pedestrians, aesthetics, and a custom touch to bridge construction.

So how do you decide which railing is ideal for your bridge? We’ve compiled a small guide of the different types of bridge railings we provide so that you can make the best decision for your construction project.

Steel Bridge Railing

The most common steel bridge railing is the tubular rail system. This railing can be built alone or integrated into a concrete curb or low barrier wall, thus providing flexibility to various building projects. The combination of the railing system’s beams and posts provide the strength necessary to make this a sturdy barrier.

Ornamental or architectural steel railings are commonly used for pedestrian and low-vehicular traffic. These railings tend to be thinner and more decorative than other railings and provide pedestrian protection on bridges.

W-Beam Railing

For smaller bridges or roads with less traffic consider the W-Beam railing. This railing system attaches to steel posts or truss girders and is typically 27 inches from the top of the bridge to the pavement. The W-Beam is a simple steel railing system but it can be doubled to maximize its strength. Similar to the W-Beam, the Thrie Beam is another steel railing but works best in areas with heavier traffic flow.

Many pedestrian and steel bridge railings can receive extra finishes such as paint coatings or galvanization. Due to its popularity, the specifications required for building steel railing systems varies for each state.

Concrete Bridge Railing

As a local resource, concrete is one of the most common materials to choose for bridge construction. A concrete railing attaches to the bridge’s deck slab and creates a powerful vehicular barrier. These sturdy railings are ideal for high traffic roadways or areas where run-off the road accidents are frequent. Concrete railings are a great idea for urban locations or for bridges that receive heavy truckloads.

Keep in mind, this railing has a high initial cost and its thick appearance can impede an open road view. However, there are ways to help open visibility while still keeping the concrete railing’s thick strength; such as combining wall barriers with a tubular railing system.

A bridge’s railing is dependent on factors such as the construction’s budget, bridge deck material, and mandated state specifications.

Let’s Build Your Bridge, The Right Way

Still not sure which railing best fits your project? Check our website for more details in our railings. Or use our chatbox below and we’ll be in touch soon.

U.S. Bridge has been connecting communities with long-lasting bridges for decades, so you can feel confident in investing in our expertise. Our team will help you choose and create the right bridge for your project. If you’d like to know more about our bridge construction or have any questions, please contact us today and get a free quote.

Marble Cliff

U.S. Bridge recently completed our construction of a steel bridge for the Marble Cliff development in Columbus, Ohio. The steel truss bridge serves as a centerpiece for the new mixed-use development just five miles from downtown Columbus.

The weathering steel truss bridge spans 80-feet, with a 28-foot clear roadway, and two eight-foot sidewalks for pedestrians.

Marble Cliff

The Marble Cliff Development

Since the fall of 2018, we’ve worked closely with the site’s developer Thrive Companies. Together, we determined that the new development required a signature entrance.

As with every project, we collaborated with the client to decide on the elements the bridge needed. It was without question that the development deserved an aesthetically-pleasing bridge entrance match the luxury of the ongoing development.

We presented many options and ultimately landed on a weathering steel truss bridge, which included railings and a concrete floor.

The development is located on former quarry land in Columbus, Ohio. The mixed-use development of 70 acres will contain 864 housing units and 80,500 square feet of office and retail space. Specifically, the new housing is targeting professionals and young adults.

In addition, the Marble Cliff development will incorporate linked waterways, including streams and ponds, for residents to enjoy. Thus, the bridge is accessible via the waterways that kayakers and canoers can use near the Scioto River.

Marble Cliff

The Bridge Construction Process

We discussed the bridge needs with the Marble Cliff development’s on-site land contractor, developer, and consultant. After discussions about the project scope, the developers put their trust in U.S. Bridge to engineer, design, manufacture, and construct the bridge.

Once the scope was determined, we proceeded with our design of the truss bridge. We reviewed the project details carefully to ensure it met the client’s specifications and maintained U.S. Bridge’s high-quality standards. After approval and construction of the abutments, our team installed the bridge, concrete floor, and necessary railing.

Through every step of the process, we worked with Thrive Companies to meet and exceed expectations.

Without delay, we completed the bridge project on time and on budget. We are pleased to be part of this bridge project that will serve the Columbus community for generations to come. Now that the bridge is in place, the former quarry can continue to move toward its completion.

Marble Cliff

A Team Effort by U.S. Bridge

Every part of our team at U.S. Bridge touched this project. From engineering and design to steel fabricators to the construction team, our team showed what great work we can do together.

We are glad to be a part of this redevelopment, located on 70 acres near the Scioto River. By and large, this project was a great success for the U.S. Bridge team.

To learn more about why we’re the leader in steel bridge construction, get in touch with us. We’re glad to answer any questions about your bridge construction project.

Truss Bridge

There are several timeless designs that have been used in bridge building for decades. However, there are few more iconic than the truss bridge. In the 1800s, America was the leader in truss bridge design, though older constructions used wood. The design is vintage Americana, but it’s become modernized.

Today, truss bridges are used as an effective bridge construction option. Although one thing has changed: steel is the primary component in new truss constructions. U.S. Bridge is a leader in building modern truss bridges that will last for decades to come.

Let’s discuss why we use steel truss bridge design for many of our new constructions.

Advantages of Steel Truss Bridges

  1. Strong load-bearing capacity
  2. Effective use of materials
  3. Affordable to construct
  4. Versatile and adaptable design
  5. Professional bridge engineering

Steel Truss Bridge

First, What is a Truss Bridge?

Truss bridges are formed with a structure of connected elements that form triangular structures to make up the bridge. Trusses are the triangles that connect to the top and bottom cord and two end posts.

The trusses make up reinforcement for the bridge that even the load-bearing across the structure. Furthermore, the truss dissipates the load through the structure so the middle of the beam experiences less compression and tension. As you will see later, there are several variations of the truss, but it starts with a top and bottom cord and a series of trusses.

1. Strong Load-Bearing Capacity

Even the earliest wood truss bridges were built to distribute weight evenly. With this intention in mind, bridges could be built for larger loads. Overall, this makes this bridge design a very strong and dependable option. With steel construction, truss bridges can take on the traffic of today.

2. Effective Use of Materials

What makes truss bridges relevant more today than ever is their effective use of materials. Keep in mind, less materials means easier construction and less money spent. Already, our bridge construction uses recycled steel that is lightweight and has been certified for Bridge Fabrication — Advanced (Major) by the AISC.

In fact, each piece is constructed with a definite purpose for truss bridge construction. This way, the construction and use of each steel piece are perfect for the bridge.

3. Affordable To Construct

Because of the simplicity of truss bridge designs, they are often a great fit for accelerated bridge construction. In order to improve construction time, each steel piece can be quickly pieced together.

If considering the full cost of material and labor, truss bridges save builders thousands of dollars. Not to mention the long-term savings from building a long-lasting, durable bridge from U.S. Bridge.

4. Versatile and Adaptable Design

While truss bridges are great for short spans, what makes them versatile is their ability to go long distances and still support large loads. With the polygonal design of the truss, it’s possible to cover long distances. Even at U.S. Bridge, we have several options to fit the bridge construction you’re looking for.

In particular, truss bridges can be needed in areas with extreme weather. Despite the harsh weather, with great structural engineering, our truss bridges are prepared to last even the worst storms for decades to come. When it comes to crossing a treacherous area, truss bridges can be built to keep communities connected.

5. Professional Bridge Engineering

While a truss bridge may seem simple, they are actually quite intricate and require complex engineering and design. Because the weight must be distributed away from the center beam, each truss must be optimally engineered to distribute the weight. Without attention to detail in the engineering design, the truss design will not be nearly as effective.

Bridges are very dynamic, but at U.S. Bridge, we can guarantee the highest-quality engineering that fits the environmental components of the build location.

The U.S. Bridge Steel Truss Bridge Designs

Several of our U.S. Bridge designs use steel trusses for optimal strength and durability. However, every truss bridge is different. Here are just a few of the truss constructions we’ve done in the past.

Pratt Truss — Liberty, Viking, Seneca, Voyager

Warren Truss — Cambridge, Cambridge Flat

Box Truss — Thru Truss

Experts in Truss Bridge Construction

When you invest in a U.S. Bridge, you can rest assured you’re investing in experts in truss bridges. We’ve been building long-lasting steel bridges for decades. We regard every detail of your bridge with a high level of attention and efficiency to ensure it’s high-quality.

If you’d like to know more about our bridge construction projects and have any questions about a project, please contact us today and get a free quote.