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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.

 

Spartan Race USB Team Building

Teamwork is one of our core values at U.S. Bridge. We believe that we can accomplish more when we work together. To that end, our company always looks for ways to bring our team members together. And this month we participated in a fun U.S. Bridge team building Spartan Race. What better way to come closer as teammates and coworkers than by doing an obstacle course together!

U.S. Bridge Team Building

Spartan Race takes place all over the nation and globally. It has become one of the most popular obstacle course races in the world with thousands of participants each year. The race our team competed in was in Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. Boasting 1,500 acres of natural beauty and open space, the event took place on October 13th with hundreds of participants. And five of our team members were the brave Spartans, representing U.S. Bridge, to get into the mud together. This race is no walk in the park, as participants have to run 3+ miles of obstacle racing. While you may be able to easily run 3 miles, think about running and jumping over fire, rope climbing, wall climbing, and mud crawling. Well, that is exactly what our U.S. Bridge team did! With an impressive time of 1 hour 36 minutes and 54 seconds.

Working Together

This race is not only a physical challenge to overcome, but also a mental one. It is not an easy task to go over 3+ miles of obstacles and know that your team depends on you. This is why on this U.S. Bridge team building, our racers had to work together and communicate to finish the course. This event is also a reflection of our everyday life at the office. We know that our bridge building projects reach success when we communicate and work together. This is the quality that sets U.S. Bridge apart from other bridge companies. Our open communication and teamwork policy is the foundation of every one of our projects.

Trust U.S. Bridge with Your Next Bridge

We are proud of our team representing U.S. Bridge at Spartan Race. We know that this event was a challenging task that together they overcame and completed at an extraordinary time. Just like this obstacle course, our team at U.S. Bridge works together to bring your next bridge project to life. Contact us and get a quote for your next project.

The U.S. Liberty Bridge soars above the competition. With their rigidity and adaptability to various elevations, these bridges are designed to be containerized and quick to construct in the event of an emergency. Also, they are a preferred permanent bridge. After Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico, U.S. Bridge built Liberty Bridges in five communities across the island. U.S. Bridge’s Liberty Series Bridges are the ideal solution to any project.

Bolted Permanent Bridges Surpass Pinned Temporary Bridges

U.S. Liberty Bridges have numerous advantages, but one of the main reasons is their prefabricated panels. Each panel is designed with a bolting system that has an infinite lifespan. In addition, bolting assures resistance to fatigue, weakness, and overloads. This system increases the sustainability of the bridge as a whole and eliminates the need for maintenance. Contrarily, the incorporation of pins into alternative type structures leads to vibration and friction with each load, and over time, more maintenance and monitoring. With its customizable panel sizes, the U.S. Liberty Bridge also spans up to 200 feet. And its larger floor panels give it the ability to support one or multiple lanes of traffic. All these features make the Liberty Bridge the preferred choice for emergency situations.

Begin Your Project With U.S. Bridge

U.S. Bridge has over 80 years of history and experience in the engineering, manufacturing and installation of steel bridges. We help communities create safe and longer-lasting bridges globally. For more information about our bridges and services contact us today.

U.S. Liberty Bridges Infographic

 

Those who aren’t familiar with bridge building might think of decks as parts of a ship or the area in the backyard where grills are kept. However, in the industry, we know “deck” is a term for the driving surface of a bridge. Whether constructed from concrete, wood, steel, or open grating, decks that form the driving surface of a bridge need to be strong enough for traffic to cross safely. At U.S. Bridge, we provide a full range of sustainable bridge floor and deck solutions to clients throughout the world. Read on to learn more about the types of decks we offer:

Concrete Deck Slab

When it comes to bridge floor and deck products, the concrete deck slab is one of the most popular. Typically between 7 and 9 inches thick, this deck has two layers of steel reinforcing bars to provide strength and durability.

Asphalt

For this deck type, corrugated steel planks, 3, 5 or 7 gauge, are attached to the stringers of the bridge and become a structural component of the structure.. By galvanizing these planks, the flooring is protected against corrosion. With an asphalt overlay, these types of decks provide a long-lasting, economical, driving surface.

Open Grid Steel Deck

If weight constraints are an issue, open grid steel decking is a wonderful option for a bridge floor. It is characterized by whether the grid is filled, or partially-filled with concrete. If concrete is included, a metal pan or form is included near the base or at mid-height of the grid to support the concrete while it cures.

Precast Concrete Panels

One of the most efficient deck types, precast concrete panels can be constructed quickly and easily. Designed and manufactured off site, these panels can be installed one day and driven over the next. Non-shrink grout is mixed and poured in batches on site.

Nail-Laminated Timber Bridge Floor

Ideal for more rustic locations around the country, these timber decks utilize pressure treated lumber to protect against the elements. Additionally, buyers can opt to cover the deck with asphalt if they choose.

Start Building Your Bridge Today

As a leader in bridge floor and bridge flooring solutions, U.S. Bridge engineers and manufactures steel bridges for a wide range of private and public organizations. You can trust us to create a safe, durable bridge that will stand the test of time. To learn more about what we do, call today or contact us for an online bridge consultation.

The U.S. Bridge Prefabricated Steel Bridge Process

U.S. Bridge prides itself on working with the latest engineering techniques and the most advanced materials. Incorporating prefabricated steel bridges into stable products has enabled the company to expand. Also, this allows immediate help in areas where traffic patterns demand a quick fix. Below is an overview of the U.S. Bridge prefabricated steel bridge process and why these bridges are such a game-changer for infrastructure.

 Why Prefabricated?

Prefabricated steel bridges have transformed the bridge-building industry. They are a cost-effective solution to a critical need: reinforced and revamped bridges. Key features of these bridges are:

  • Easy Upkeep – All connections are bolted, eliminating pins that often require frequent maintenance. Galvanized steel is also a completely recyclable material and is abundantly available keeping costs down.
  • Easy Assembly – Fewer parts means putting the bridges together is a quicker process. Consequently, fewer parts significantly reduce the chance for on-site construction errors. This makes assembly quicker and increases quality assurance. For more information about accelerated bridge construction, click here.
  • Easy Disassembly –  It is easy to disassemble prefabricated steel bridges, making it convenient to use as temporary or emergency structures.

 Why U.S. Bridge?

These prefabricated bridges were first used in the 1930s. As an industry leader and trailblazer, U.S. Bridge has been building prefabricated steel bridges since 1936. As an AISC certified fabricator of Advanced Bridges with Fracture Critical and Sophisticated Paint Endorsements, U.S. Bridge has a proven and reliable fabricating and quality assurance process. U.S. Bridge’s Engineering to Fabricating interface program ensures that all design and fabricating details are transferred to computer controlled CNC automated equipment. This includes a CNC Plate Processor, Automated Beam Line, Saw and numerous Robotic Welders. And, this direct transfer ensures that the bridge you have approved is the exact same bridge that will be fabricated.

U.S. Bridge meets the ongoing needs of our customers with a commitment to providing the highest level of quality bridge solutions possible. Their goal is to continually achieve a “best practice approach” with everything they build. And, they have been doing it for more than 80 years.

For more information about U.S. Bridge and their Prefabricated Steel Bridge Process, please call +1 (888) 852-0094.

The Liberty Bridge: Connecting Communities In Puerto Rico

Created from prefabricated panels and assembled in modules, the Liberty Bridge is a proven type of structure offering profound benefits in flexibility and installation. These advantages went a long way toward helping Puerto Rico heal following the Hurricane Maria devastation.

Featuring 8-foot by 12-foot welded panels, the Liberty Series is unique in that it can be configured and installed quickly without special equipment. Made of new, domestic steel, the Liberty Bridge can be launched or set with the use of a crane. With all-bolted connections, the bridge functions without the need for pins or other proprietary parts or designs. And thanks to floor-to-truss framing connections engineered according to AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specification, the model offers superior stability.

Benefits of the Liberty Bridge

While the Liberty Series is created to serve as a high-quality, permanent structure, it’s also suitable for emergency or temporary bridging. If necessary, the structure can be easily unbolted and moved in sections to another location. Spanning up to 200 feet, the Liberty Bridge can support one or multiple lanes of traffic and comes with either checkered plate or anti-skid epoxy flooring. All of these features help make the Liberty Bridge an ideal choice for dealing with emergencies.

Helping Puerto Rico Heal

In 2017, Puerto Rico suffered a devastating natural disaster. A once-in-a-lifetime storm, Hurricane Maria featured 175-MPH winds and flooding and left all of Puerto Rico without power for weeks.

Additionally, the hurricane devastated the island’s infrastructure, destroying bridges in Utuado, San Lorenzo, and Juana Diaz, among other areas, leaving residents stranded and vulnerable. That’s where US Bridge came in.

A leader in bridge building and design, U.S. Bridge was proud to be able to help Puerto Rico residents recover from this difficult period in their lives. Within a mere six weeks, the company had manufactured and installed bridges in five communities across the island. The modular bridges helped bring relief to local families, connecting them with much-needed support and services.

Contact U.S. Bridge Today

Wondering if the Liberty Series Bridges are right for your needs? The Liberty Series Bridge has been load tested by the West Virginia University. Report available upon request.  Contact us for more information.

2018 Bridge Industry Economic Projections

Rumors have been circulating that the federal government is ready to pour a lot of funds into U.S. infrastructure. Beyond rumors, though, what is the real economic outlook for our industry? Below are some key Bridge Industry Economic Predictions and what we can expect throughout 2018.

Strong Overall Outlook

With a dropping unemployment rate and low inflation, the overall outlook for construction growth in 2018 is very positive.  General construction work is estimated to grow by five percent. More specifically, signs indicate that the Southern and Western United States will see the biggest impact on growth. While the cost of building materials is likely to rise by a little over two percent, overall industry growth is still expected.

Bridges and Roads

Bridge Industry Economic Projections estimate that bridges and roads will be the biggest growth segment in the nonbuilding sector. This is in part due to the government’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program. This program will fund up to 10 highway and bridge projects. However, it has not yet been voted on.

State by State

The overall growth of road and bridge construction may seem minimal when applied to the entire U.S. as a whole. However, some states will see more growth than others. According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), California, Florida, New York, Hawaii, Virginia, and Washington are poised to see the most local growth in the construction industry. Additionally, total spending on public bridge and tunnel construction is expected to top out around $31.3 billion, a slight increase over 2017.

Signs for a Strong Future

Most assume that the federal government will pass INFRA, adding funds to the construction industry in 2018 and early 2019. These projects would undoubtedly bring long-term growth for years to come. Further, with nine percent of the U.S.’s bridges and roads deemed structurally deficient and in need of repair, the need for bridge and roadway construction will likely continue for decades.

To find out more about Bridge Industry Economic Projections and what U.S. Bridge is doing to help, please contact us today. At U.S. Bridge, we have designed and manufactured bridges for over 80 years, providing the pathways that keep America moving.

References

Analyzing the life cycle costs of steel vs. concrete bridges is of utmost importance to U.S. Bridge and the infrastructure industry in general. Aside from sustainability and social responsibility, U.S. Bridge is dedicated to using the best materials for the job. Depending on the scope of work and bridge design, the choice between steel or concrete could have a long-lasting impact on the sustainability of the structure.

U.S. Bridge asked Michael G. Barker Ph.D., a professor at the University of Wyoming, to draft a white paper regarding the Life Cycle Costs Analysis (LCCA) of bridges. Of particular interest was the use of hot-dip galvanized steel vs. concrete. The study determined that using HDG steel reduces capital costs by 8.5 percent. Below is the executive summary of the report that provides a good snapshot of the report and its findings. You can download the entire white paper here.

Executive Summary

Since the early 1990s, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has promoted the consideration of Life Cycle Costs Analysis (LCCA) in the design and engineering of bridges. LCCA determines the “true cost” of bridge alternatives considering the time-value of money. The Life Cycle Cost analyses employed in this study uses the Perpetual Present Value Cost (PPVC) of bridge alternatives for an equivalent comparison between the alternatives.

Over the years, the author has worked with state departments of transportation and local county engineers on effective and economical bridge construction. A frequent question that arises during meetings is the difference in Life Cycle Costs between steel and concrete girder bridges. Both the concrete industry and the steel industry cite various anecdotal advantages above the other for the Life Cycle Costs over the life of the bridge. There has historically been a healthy competition between material types for new bridge construction. However, there is industry and owner confusion on how the different types of bridges compare on a Life Cycle Cost basis.

Steel vs. Concrete Bridge Analysis

This study developed useful owner information on historical Life Cycle Costs for typical steel and concrete state bridges in Pennsylvania. Typical bridges defined in the study are:

  • Concrete decks supported by steel rolled beams
  • Steel plate girders
  • Precast concrete boxes
  • Precast concrete beams

PennDOT historical records for bridges built between 1960 and 2010 were used to develop the Life Cycle Cost study database. Initial and maintenance costs considered include total project costs (more than just superstructure) as recorded in the PennDOT records. The PennDOT database used for the Life Cycle Cost analyses only includes a subset of the total bridge inventory. Missing cost and date data for a majority of the individual bridges made total inventory impossible. The database consists of 1,186 state bridges out of 6,587 (18 percent of the eligible inventory) built between 1960 and 2010.

The initial costs, Life Cycle Costs, and future costs of the 1,186 bridges in the database are examined with respect to:

  • Variability in bridge type
  • Bridge length
  • Number of spans
  • Bridge life

Protective coating systems were also used to examine steel bridges. The results must be taken into context since the results only represent the bridges that made it into the database. The database is not as comprehensive or desirable for drawing conclusions. The reader must decide how to interpret the tables and figures showing comparisons of initial costs, Perpetual Present Value Costs, maintenance and future costs, and bridge life.  

Report Conclusion Summary

A conclusion that can be drawn is that all the types of bridges are fairly competitive in both Initial Costs and Perpetual Present Value Costs. The average initial costs vary from $174 per square feet to $226 square feet. The average Perpetual Present Value Costs vary between $218 per square feet (Prestressed I Beam) and $278 per square feet (Prestressed Adjacent Box). The lowest average bridge life was 73 years (Prestressed I Beam) and the longest was 82 years (Steel I Beam). The coefficient of variation (standard deviation/mean) of the PPVC was approximately 20 percent, which is considerably high. With the relatively small differences in the PPVC averages, given the dispersion of the PPVC costs (standard deviation), any of the bridge types may have the least Perpetual Present Value Cost for a given project.

Chance for Further Study

This research was limited to a subset of PennDOT bridges. However, the analyses demonstrate the potential benefits of LCC analysis for bridge construction and management. A study of a more comprehensive database of bridges on the initial costs, Life Cycle Costs and future costs of different types of bridges over a diverse set of circumstances would be very useful for bridge owners and managers. A more comprehensive database would allow for a more accurate comparison of bridge types, design details, such as jointless decks, rebar coatings, steel protection systems, and other construction details.

For more information about this study, as well as the benefits of steel vs. concrete bridges, please contact U.S. Bridge today. You can also download the complete white paper here.

Steel, Our Most Sustainable Material

Steel is one of the most widely utilized building materials for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Commercial and residential building projects
  • Bridges and highway construction
  • Vehicles and household appliances

Fortunately, through decades of innovation, steel has become easier to manufacture; and just as importantly, steel is one of the most recycled and thus sustainable materials in the world.

Why is Sustainability Important?

Sustainable materials don’t deplete non-renewable natural resources during the manufacturing process. This is extremely important since non-renewable resources are only available in finite quantities. The other benefit to preserving non-renewable resources is to maintain the environment’s natural equilibrium.

What Makes Steel Sustainable?

One factor that makes steel a sustainable material is its significant reduction in energy emissions (by approximately 31 percent). One ton of steel now takes one-third less energy to manufacture than it did in 1990. Also, during steel production, carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by 36 percent. Steel is also the most recycled material in the world, with more than 65 million tons recycled per year.

What is Life Cycle Thinking?

The steel industry has committed itself to Life Cycle Thinking. This method of analysis allows the industry to continually examine its environmental impact. Thus, Life Cycle Thinking looks beyond simple eco-friendly practices to understand the impact of steel production on all aspects of daily life. This includes manufacturing, design and production, use and maintenance, disposal and recyclability of waste and components.

Using Recyclable Steel

An estimated 93 percent of steel currently used in construction projects is recycled. Additionally, 98 percent of a building’s steel is recycled back into other steel projects once the building reaches the end of its life-cycle. This recycling happens without any degradation to the quality of the steel, making it a truly reusable resource.

We at U.S. Bridge pride ourselves on building structures that last, without negatively impacting the environment. By working with a sustainable material, like steel, we’re confident that our bridges will be around for decades without leaving much of a carbon footprint.

U.S. Bridge has worked with local and state governments and recently completed a bridge-building project in under 30 days. To discover what our professional team can do for your next project, please contact us today.