Steel Bridge Basics

Introduction to Short Span Steel Bridges

Steel Bridge Lenghts Chart

Several options are available depending on the length of the bridge, including corrugated pipe, corrugated structural plate, wide flange shape/rolled beams, plate girder, and truss.

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.

Steel Bridge Basics Resources

Truss Steel Bridge

Advantages of Steel Truss Bridge Construction

5 advantages of constructing steel truss bridges for both short and long span crossings.

Steel Bridge Fabrication

Video: Suggested Fabrication Details, Part 2

This video provides an overview of simple and economical practices specific to girder fabrication.

Steel Bridge Fabrication

Video: Suggested Fabrication Details, Part 1

This video provides an overview of simple and economical fabrication for framing system layouts.

Understanding Fatigue of Steel Bridges

Video: Understanding Fatigue

This video provides a basic overview of fatigue theory and relevant specifications related to short-span steel bridges.

Basics of Limited States

Video: Basics of Limit States and LRFD Bridge Design

This video provides an introduction to the basics of limit state design and how engineers design and detail bridges.

Contech - Buried Bridge - California

What You Should Know About Buried Bridges

Joel Hahm, Contech Engineered Solutions, provides an expert Q&A on buried bridges.

Myths and Realities of Steel Bridges

Steel Bridge Construction: Myths & Realities

Report dispels the “myths” surrounding the use of steel in bridge construction.

Steel Buried Bridge

Hidden in Plain Sight–the Design, Cost and Maintenance Advantages of Steel Buried Bridges

Steel buried bridges are durable and resilient, with the ability to support very heavy loads.