Steel Bridge Basics
Introduction to Short Span Steel Bridges
Short span bridges provide vital links in the nation’s infrastructure network. Yet, on average, there are 188 million trips across a structurally deficient bridge each day – over 56,000 bridges are structurally deficient. .
Steel provides an excellent solution for short span bridges (bridges under 140 feet) because it’s durable, provides speed of design and construction, requires minimal maintenance over the life span of the structure, and is cost-effective and sustainable, among other benefits.
Several options are available depending on the length of the bridge, including buried plate structures, wide flange shape/rolled beams, plate girder, and trusses.
- There are several types of short span steel bridge options available, including prefabricated, buried and pedestrian.
- Component choices for these bridges include substructures, superstructures, decks, systems, secondary elements and transporters.
- Coatings include galvanized, weathering steel, metalizing and paint.
- Steel is a sustainable choice.
- Steel is a cost-effective material, with both short-term and long-term savings.
This video provides an introduction to the basics of limit state design and how engineers design and detail bridges.
Steel buried bridges are durable and resilient, with the ability to support very heavy loads.