Tag Archive for: thru truss bridge

Nowadays, bridges have become commonplace in our modern society. They offer great solutions to problems such as carrying heavy loads across long distances or providing a safe route for pedestrians and vehicles. But have you ever wondered how bridges are built? Here’s a quick breakthrough of the main components of a bridge and how they function.

The Main Components

The Type of Superstructure

The main part of a bridge is its superstructure. The superstructure bears the weight of the load as it passes through the bridge. It comprises the deck slab, girders, truss, etc. The specific components vary based on the type of bridge and its materials such as concrete or steel.

Not only does the decking hold the load weight, but it also helps transmit the weight and pressure to the below substructures of the bridge.

The Type of Substructure

The substructure of a bridge is the component that supports the superstructure and distributes the load to the bridge footings and foundation. They consist of piers, abutments, wing walls all of which facilitate the process of transmitting the weight of the load to the earth.

Different Types of Bridges

Although there are various designs of a bridge the main components will always stay the same. The only difference is the pattern or direction in which the pressure is distributed. For example, here’s the difference between the beam and truss bridge.

Beam Bridge

A Beam bridge, sometimes called a stringer or girder bridge, is one of the most basic types of bridge. Its design consists of horizontal beams and vertical piers that typically include two or more spans with an abutment or pier at each end. Beam bridges can be constructed using wood, steel, or concrete and are built for short distances as their only support is from piers.

In this design, the load is compressed on the top of the bridge and then applied down the piers to the earth.

Truss Bridge

A truss bridge design involves interconnected triangles that distribute the weight over a wide space. This unique design allows the truss bridge to carry a heavier weight capacity with fewer materials. These lightweight and durable bridges can be utilized for both short and long distances.

Truss bridges function by transferring the weight of the load from a single point to a wider area. When the load is applied to the truss bridge the pressure is shared among the triangular designs for additional support and then redirected to the earth through the bridge’s substructure. 

Build with U.S. Bridge

At U.S. Bridge, we work with the highest quality materials and engineers when designing and building bridges. Not to mention, our bridges are well-made, easy to maintain, and available in a variety of design and support types.

With decades of experience and our team of dedicated experts, you can feel confident in trusting an industry leader to build your bridge. Contact us today for a free quote or use our exclusive Bridgescope tool!

Types of Bridges U.S. Bridge Offers

Bridges are engineering marvels. Whether spanning great or small distances, steel bridges come in many different shapes, sizes and aesthetics. At U.S. Bridge, we have decades of bridge building experience and several types of bridges to choose from. With engineers experienced in design and construction, U.S. Bridge has produced some of the leading bridges in the country and around the world.

All of our bridges are custom-made to accomplish the task at hand. We listen and work to understand your project needs in order to ensure every detail of your bridge gets the attention it deserves. Below is an overview of various types of bridges that U.S. Bridge offers.

U.S. Bridge Cambridge

Cambridge Bridges

The Cambridge bridge is a Warren Truss girder bridge with a camelback design and beautiful geometry. The trusses each have a polygonal top chord, two diagonal members in each truss panel, and a vertical member at each interior bottom chord panel point. The Cambridge is an efficient use of steel, and is perfect for both rural and industrial settings.

Cambridge Flat Bridges

Similar to the Cambridge bridge design, this truss eliminates verticals at the top chord panel points. The Cambridge Flat bridge has a sturdy look and is ideal for all bridges over rail, water and roadway applications due to its shallow profile.

Liberty Bridge Puerto Rico

Liberty Bridges

The Liberty Bridge design is more adaptable than any other. These bridges are designed to be containerized and assembled into modules to make it easy to construct. The Liberty is perfect for easy and temporary installations, as it offers more flexibility than other bridge types. However, it’s also a preferred option for permanent installations.

When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, U.S. Bridge provided five Liberty bridges to reconnect communities that were affected by the storm. Of all our types of bridges, our Liberty design is the best for emergency situations due to its ability to be quickly constructed.

Seneca Bridges

U.S. Bridge SenecaThis Pratt Truss girder steel bridge is formed by creating an arch of its top curve. The Seneca design has vertical members at every panel point which shrinks the floor beams and minimizes or eliminates stringer beams. The steel design is lighter weight and more durable than similar concrete structures.

Additionally, innovative design can bring significant cost savings. Its all-bolted construction option allows for easy on-site construction. Lastly, this is a durable bridge that guarantees a life span of at least 100 years.

Thru Truss Bridges

U.S. Bridge Thru TrussOur Thru Truss bridge design adds a pleasing aesthetic to your bridge structure. U.S. Bridge uses the term “thru truss” to describe high or box truss bridges. If your bridge needs to span up to 300 feet, this is the design for you. Thru Truss bridges are designed specifically for longer spanning bridges. Due to upper lateral support bracing bars, these bridges have a high-span capability. You can rely on the structural integrity of our bridge to meet your long-term needs.

Thru Truss bridges reduces the need for intermediate piers. The kit will be shipped to the project site in lightweight manageable sections, though the pre-assembly is usually limited to attaching gusset plates to the chord members. Of our various types of bridges, this is the only design that can span up to 300 feet. Lastly, this bridge is available with asphalt, concrete or metal orthotropic deck with an anti-skid option.

Viking Bridges

U.S. Bridge VikingThis gorgeous bridge design is a modified version of a bow-string arch style configured from a Pratt Truss using vertical end posts. It shares similarities with the Seneca design, with vertical members at every panel point, which minimizes or eliminates stringer beams.

Depending on your needs, our independent and truss-mounted vehicular guardrail options allow you to attach the railing system to various sections of the superstructure. This bridge has the ability to span short or long distances to bring solutions for pedestrians, cyclists and cars.

U.S. Bridge Voyager

Voyager Bridges

This depth Pratt Truss style bridge is perfect for driveways or other areas where light vehicle traffic is expected.  This bridge style is configured using parallel chord members and vertical end posts. The Voyager design offers a broad range of distinct designs that are aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Cortez Bridges

U.S. Bridge CortezThe Cortez is perfect for short spans, but is very adaptable and versatile. The Cortez design is a simple span beam bridge that supports a concrete deck slab and stay-in-place forms. Also, it can be designed with a bridge plank and asphalt system. When members weight and dead loads are a concern, U.S. Bridge can help create solutions with prestressed concrete alternatives.

The Cortez design is easy to install without specialized equipment, as it’s available in custom lengths up to 80 feet. Like many of our bridges, you’ll have several finishes available. Lastly, our high-quality steel constructions are extremely durable and guarantee minimal to no maintenance.

Experts in Steel Bridges

U.S. Bridge has completed more than 10,000 bridge projects, and has experience working in more than 50 countries. Our team designs and builds steel bridge types of many different styles and designs, including those listed above. All of our bridges designs are custom made for our customers. We work directly with our customers during the entire process to find the best fit — manufacturers and distributors not required. Our family-owned business has been running and building strong for more than 80 years. Therefore, at U.S. Bridge, we take tremendous pride in our work.

To discover what type of steel bridge might best suit your needs, contact us today for a free assessment and quote. We look forward to designing and building your next bridge.

Why Choose U.S. Bridge?

Infrastructure has become a popular theme lately, as government officials begin to refocus on ways to reinforce and strengthen America’s systems of roads, bridges, and highways. Infrastructure is a vital aspect of American life, connecting regions across the contiguous United States to make it easier than ever for people and goods to travel freely. This mission is why U.S. Bridge exists: we are proud to be an integral part of this system. The U.S. Bridge team of dedicated engineers personifies our core values: integrity, respect, personal accountability, teamwork, and service. Plus, with over 80 years of projects under our belts, our work speaks for itself.

Family Owned, Then and Now

Herman and Ted Rogovin started the American Culvert Company in 1936. After changing the name to The Ohio Bridge Corporation in 1952, the company became the first in the U.S. to engineer and manufacture factory-created, all-welded steel component truss and beam bridges. The company was renamed U.S Bridge in 1987 to better represent the true breadth of our work. And most notably, it is still family-owned.

Why U.S. Bridge?

Companies and organizations across the United States have discovered the benefit of working with a dedicated steel bridge expert like U.S. Bridge. As outlined on our website, we design and build bridges that can handle vehicle loads of up to 90,000 lbs. and can even design for additional weight as necessary. Moreover, our engineers are able to meet the different safety and design requirements of various regulatory entities, like departments of transportation.

Project Management From the Start

When you choose U.S. Bridge, you’ll be working with bridge engineering and construction experts from the start. Our specialists begin by devising scope of work documentation, estimating costs and timelines, and working all the way through to the construction phase. With such a full service solution, it’s easy to see why U.S. Bridge is often the top choice for developers and contractors.

If you’re looking for an expert partner to aid your next project, U.S. Bridge is the answer. Contact us today to start the process and request a quote. Once you’ve met our team and reviewed our work up close, it’ll be easy to see why U.S. Bridge is the right choice for your next project.

Steel Bridge Myths: Concrete Bridges Outlast Steel Bridges

In the contest for most durable bridge-building material, it seems the final two contenders are always steel and concrete. It’s not surprising. Both are ubiquitous in U.S. infrastructure design, and both are known for their durability. However, it’s time to dispel the long-held myth that concrete is more durable than steel for bridge building. Here are some steel bridge construction facts to support that point:

Steel Bridge Construction Facts

  • The first major pre-stressed concrete bridge, located near Philadelphia, was replaced after only 40 years in service. By contrast, there are many steel bridges that have lasted more than 100 years and are still strong and stable.
  • A study conducted by Lehigh University found that bridge material is not the key indicator of a bridge’s lifespan. Traffic and age are the two biggest factors.
  • In a 2003 article in the journal Civil Engineering, a study was conducted of some recently built concrete bridges. This study revealed significant structural defects, including corrosion that would be very hard to spot from the surface.
  • Finally, steel is milled under tightly controlled conditions, making it more predictable and homogenous.

More Bridge Construction Facts

There is no statistical evidence to support that concrete is better than steel. In fact, it has been shown that concrete cracks and has a lower tensile strength than other materials. Conversely, steel does not crack and often sees wear and tear at the joints and bearings, an easy enough fix for construction teams. It’s also relatively easy to expand steel bridges when a wider thoroughfare is needed. Concrete also takes a long time to cure, delaying construction times, and can be made up of a variety of materials and sediment that may or may not be ideal for building.

A U.S. Bridge is Durable

With over 80 years of bridge design and building experience, U.S. Bridge is proud to work with steel as its primary building medium. Our bridges are well-made, easy to maintain, and available in a variety of design and support types. Whatever span you need to cross, U.S. Bridge has what you need. For a free quote, please visit this link and find out how U.S. Bridge brings these steel bridge construction facts to life.

Best Material for Bridges: Steel

Steel is a versatile building material, used for centuries in various capacities. Its strength and permanence are ideal for long-lasting structures, like bridges. The use of steel for bridges replaced earlier materials such as wood, concrete and stone. Eventually, with the arrival of the railroad in the United States, shipping steel across the U.S. became easier than ever. Builders began using steel frequently for construction projects, including bridges from New York to California. But what other characteristics make steel a best material for bridges? Let’s examine steel’s advantages below.

Advantages of Steel

Steel as a building material for bridges has many benefits beyond its strength. Here are some of its most beneficial characteristics:

  • High level of quality control: Most steel is created in a lab under controlled conditions, ensuring uniformity and better performance in the field.
  • Easy to modify and repair: Builders can repair steel with minimal disruption to traffic.
  • Sustainable and recyclable: Once a structure is no longer needed, steel can easily be recycled. This added sustainability makes it a great choice for more environmentally conscious construction initiatives.
  • Architecturally malleable: Steel is an easy material to manipulate in order to match certain design aesthetics. Changing the look and feel of steel is easy with a fresh coat of paint or minor cosmetic changes.

Best Types of Steel for Bridges

When using steel for bridge building, there are a variety of options for builders and designers. For example, these include heat-treated carbon steel, high-strength steel, and weathering steel. Depending on weather conditions, bridge length, and proposed use, each of these options has different properties that make them the best material for bridges. Based on these characteristics and more, bridge architects will choose the best type of steel for the job.

At U.S. Bridge, we work with the highest quality steel when designing and building bridges. With decades of experience, our team of dedicated experts always choose the best material for bridges, create the most strategic design, and work aesthetically with environmental conditions to make the best bridge possible. Visit our website today to get a free quote for your next project.

Bridge Building: Advantages of Steel

Steel has been a versatile building material in the United States for decades. Its lighter weight, high durability and low cost make it an easy choice for large and small construction crews and projects. At U.S. Bridge, we use steel as our primary material for building bridges. Below are some of the key advantages of steel bridges in building and construction projects alike.


Steel is one of the most durable materials available. It can withstand major environmental disasters, such as massive earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. In fact, during the 1994 earthquake in Northridge, California, it is estimated that 96 percent of all steel bridges were undamaged, even though the surrounding infrastructure took a massive hit. Steel affords unparalleled strength, making it ideal for spanning longer distances. And of course, steel is long-lasting, making it a great choice for projects that need to last the ages.


The multiple advantages of steel equate to a more cost-effective option than other building materials. Smaller crews working with smaller scale construction equipment can install and erect steel-based projects because of its light weight. This lighter weight also allows for faster installation, so projects are erected more quickly. This timeliness also affords key cost-savings advantages to construction companies.


As the number one recycled material in North America, steel outpaces glass, paper and aluminum. Steel can be recycled from job to job, meaning the amount of generated “steel waste” is nominal. Steel’s sustainability also has a significant positive impact on the environment. Since 1975, the greenhouse gas emissions from every ton of shipped steel have reduced by a total of 45 percent.

Advantages of Steel Bridges

Steel is one of the most sophisticated building materials available today. Its state-of-the-art composition can bring about significant cost savings, as well as innovation in building. The advantages of steel as a lighter weight and more durable material than concrete results in quicker and easier construction.

U.S. Bridge is proud to be a long-established, family-owned business in the steel bridge industry. Our custom built bridges are for the private and public sector, and in more than 50 countries across the globe. With more than 10,000 projects completed, our team of experienced engineers can bring your steel bridge to life. Get a free quote today.

Paving the Way With a New Infrastructure Plan

Construction industry officials are anxious for details about President-elect Donald Trump’s $1-trillion infrastructure proposal.  Some hints about the infrastructure plan have come from Elaine Chao, Trump’s nominee to lead the Dept. of Transportation.

At Chao’s Jan. 11 Senate confirmation hearing, members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee tried to elicit details of the plan from Chao, with little success. She did outline some broad features about the still- undeveloped proposal, saying private-sector financing will be a key element and that it will include direct federal funding, too. Chao also said that addressing the Highway Trust Fund’s persistent revenue shortfall will be high on Trump’s list as he begins his term in office.

She noted that the Trump team will be assembling an infrastructure task force to put together the plan, an indication that the proposal’s shape is far from settled and that it won’t be released soon.

Chao did indicated that the program would have “a mix of practical solutions—both public and private—that provide the greatest cost-benefit to the public.”

Read the entire article here, thanks to our friends over at ENR – Engineering News Record.

U.S. Bridge is Headed to the Big Apple to Talk Highways and Bridges

Look for Us at the New York Highway Superintendents Association Winter Conference

The Winter Highway Conference and Expo is the largest gathering of superintendents, commissioners and staff in New York.  The conference is focused on ideas around new construction, maintenance and repair of county streets, roads, highways and bridges.  Each year, attendees visit the conference to check out new products and services, strengthen relationships with existing clients or network with others involved in the safety of highways and bridges.

This year’s conference objectives include:

  • Presenting up-to-date methods and techniques for the new construction, maintenance and repair of county streets, roads and highways.
  • Providing an opportunity to share solutions to common problems.
  • Allowing  important time for colleague to colleague networking and problem solving.

U.S. Bridge is excited to be exhibiting again this year.  We’re proud to help contribute to the safety of the New York infrastructure.

For more information on the conference, click here.

Truss Bridge Design Improves Traffic Safety While Reducing Project Costs

History of Existing Bridges

The old wooden bridges on both Ezell Road and Overhead Bridge Road in Spartanburg County, S.C., were in need of replacement. The load ratings on both bridges had been decreased due to their deficient SD ratings. These single-lane structures had served the citizens of Chesnee in Spartanburg County for years while providing safe passage over the CSX track below. However, it was time for replacement.

Aside from the poor SD rating, the bridges, built in 1940, ran perpendicular to the railroad, causing a significant issue with sight lines for those traveling on either road. Large, long curves were necessary at both ends of the bridge in order to line up with the angle of the crossing. As a result, there had been numerous serious car accidents on the approach roads as well as on the bridge. Additionally, due to the short-span capabilities of the wooden superstructure, at least three piers were required to bridge the gap over the track. This was not an ideal situation for either CSX or Spartanburg County.

Next Steps for Bridge Replacement

Faced with the deterioration of the single-lane wooden bridges and the need to have superstructures that conformed to today’s traffic and load requirements, Spartanburg County called upon synTerra, a consulting engineering firm in Greenville, S.C., to handle the projects. synTerra, in turn, contacted U.S. Bridge to assist in providing structures that would meet all design criteria and provide an element of aesthetics.

For the Ezell Road bridge replacement, a 108-ft x 29-ft U.S. Bridge clear span, all-bolted Cambridge-style truss bridge design with a self-weathering finish and a live load rating of HL93 was chosen. To maintain continuity with the Ezell Bridge project, the county also chose a Cambridge-style, self-weathering truss bridge design for the Overhead Bridge Road, with a clear span length of 104-ft x 29-ft wide with a load rating of HL93. The roadway railings for both bridges were w-beams and both were also finished with concrete decking.

The bridges were expanded from the original one lane to two full lanes with a shoulder. There was also no need for piers as the U.S. Bridge structures could easily clear span the length required. The Cambridge style truss can clear span up to 200 ft, and the larger U.S. Bridge Freedom Series Thru Truss can clear span up to 300 ft. Both bridges had a “track to underside of bridge” clearance that exceeded the minimum requirements.

As safety was important for both synTerra and U.S. Bridge, it was recommended that both bridges have a significant skew of 29° LF and 24° RF respectively in order to minimize the requirements for long and dangerous curves on the approach roads. This recommendation significantly improved the sight lines around the bridges, resulting in a reduction in the number of accidents.

Both projects were made possible through joint participation of Spartanburg County and CSX as well as the availability of C-Funds and CIP Funds.

Thanks to our friends at Roads & Bridges for publishing this story.

Engineering Top Talent for Infrastructure Projects

Dragados Attracts Talent for the Increasing Amount of Infrastructure Projects in the United States

Established in 1941, Dragados is an international contractor that specializes in major infrastructure projects.  These projects include bridges, roads and highways, tunnels, dams and hydraulic works.  Dragados is the construction arm of ACS Group, one of the leading infrastructure developers in the world.

Dragados involved some up and coming engineers in the Calaveras Dam replacement project in Sunol, California (pictured above with a Viking Series bridge from U.S. Bridge).  The project featured the construction of a new earth and rock fill dam to replace the existing seismically unsafe dam and to avoid flooding downstream.   It was designed to withstand a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on the Calaveras Fault, situated about 1,500ft from the dam.

Calaveras Dam is just one of many hands-on projects that helps to excite aspiring engineers with the help of Dragados.  There’s more where that came from.   Economists estimate that global economies will need to invest over $71 trillion in infrastructure to meet demand.

Dragados continues to cultivate engineering talent for future infrastructure projects.


U.S. Bridge is Proud to Celebrate SteelDay 2016

Today is officially SteelDay!  Many would not think of dedicating a day to steel, but its importance on our society is greatly overlooked.  U.S. Bridge is excited to be a part of this industry and happy to join other companies in celebrating SteelDay.


What is SteelDay?

SteelDay is an annual event sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and hosted by its members and partners.  SteelDay is the industry’s largest educational and networking function, with events occurring all over the country. It’s an opportunity for individuals from various professions to see how the structural steel industry contributes to building America.


Why is Steel So Important

In addition to steel being one of the most used materials around the world, steel helps to make our society more sustainable and, in essence, more profitable by helping to create jobs and tax revenues.
Here are a few more reasons why steel is so important (from our friends at the World Steel Organization):

-Steel is safer to use because its strength is consistent and can be designed to withstand high-impact crashes.

-It offers the most economic and the highest strength to weight ratio of any building material.

-It’s the material of choice because of its availability, strength, versatility, ductility, and recyclability.

-Steel buildings are designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble, ensuring big environmental savings.

-Steel bridges are four to eight times lighter than those built from concrete.

To sum it up with a quote from the World Steel Association: “Steel is everywhere in our lives”.  We would agree!

Check out all the events across the country on the AISC website.

U.S. Bridge Heads to Maryland for CEAM Fall Conference

U.S. Bridge Helps Strengthen the Maryland Community
U.S. Bridge is headed to the County Engineers Association of Maryland’s fall conference, better known as CEAM. We’re excited to be invited back to this event where county engineers discuss how they can work together to improve the Maryland infrastructure.

The CEAM Fall Conference contributes to the professional development of engineers and helps the association improve the quality of public works services in Maryland. The conference’s technical program will provide an opportunity to earn up to 8 Professional Development Hours over two days.

If you’re attending CEAM, be sure to stop by the U.S. Bridge table and say hi to Brian.  He’ll be ready to discuss how our sustainable bridge designs can make a positive impact on any community.

About CEAM
In 1953, forty-one road engineers and public works officials gathered in Frederick, Maryland to form a group that would raise the technical standards of public service by exchanging ideas and discussing shared challenges in county engineering.  That organization became known as the County Engineers Association of Maryland (CEAM).

Today, CEAM provides a forum for new ideas and is an advocate for the infrastructure needs of the entire state.  The Association promotes professional education and an adherence to the highest standards of engineering, construction, management, and public policy.

The County Engineers strive for permanence and stability, not only in the roads, bridges, and facilities they design and build, but in the professional tradition they have established across the state.  CEAM fosters the open discussion of technical information, promotes educational programs and training, and supports an extensive scholarship program that will help supply the next generation of engineers.

Click here for more information about CEAM.

*Image is the Old Paper Mill Road Bridge over Loch Raven Reservoir in Baltimore, Maryland.

A View From Above - Drones Could Make Bridge Inspections Safer

Routine inspections of bridges are mandatory to keep up with safety standards and to ensure driver safety.  Equally as important is the safety of our bridge inspectors, which is why a team at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) collaborated with Collins Engineers to explore how drones can be used to reduce costs and minimize risk for all bridge inspectors.

Traditionally when inspecting bridges, there is a choice between using an aerial work platform (AWP) or under-bridge inspection vehicle, ladders or rope access. This choice depends on the type of bridge, access needed, and crews’ ability to close lanes of traffic.

Regardless of the method used to carry out the work, the associated costs and dangers of bridge inspections remain a challenge.

In addition to identifying the benefits of drones for inspections, the team is also developing best-practice guidelines that detail exactly when and how to best employ drones, more formally called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The team’s goal is to implement a statewide UAV contract to obtain close-up inspection data for all bridges meeting this policy’s criteria, on a set cycle, for both state-owned and locally owned bridges.

Check out the full article from our friends over at Roads and Bridges, including MnDOT’s full Phase-1 report of this project.

*Image of drone under the Blatnik Bridge –  second type to be tested by MnDOT.