Buried Steel Bridges Provide a Durable Option for Short Span Crossings
An economical choices for bridge replacement or bridge rehabilitation is corrugated steel pipe and structural plate pipe systems – also known as buried bridges.
Buried bridges carry loads through soil-structure interaction. The bridge structure and the backfill soils surrounding it interact with each other to support the loads. Because of this interaction, the bridge structure is typically lighter. Some advantages of buried bridges include:
- Low Cost and Speed of Installation: Buried bridges generally provide a low installed cost compared to other options, often less than half the cost of a typical bridge. This benefit is increased when you consider the fast installation times. Structures are installed in days and often without disruption.
- Minimal Maintenance: Buried bridge systems require significantly less maintenance. While periodic inspection may be required, there are no expensive bridge decks or bridge approaches to maintain.
- Durability of Coatings and Service Life: Buried bridges are available in a variety of coatings meeting nearly any service life requirement up to 100+ years. Galvanized, aluminized and polymer-coated CSP are just a few of the coating options. These and other coating options are addressed in the NCSPA Service Life Guide.
- Environmental Benefits: Habitat protection and environmental enhancements are major benefits of using long span structures. Habitats are preserved by spanning the riparian zones and preserving or creating a natural streambed. Simply burying the invert can also provide an effective and economical biological enhancement. Additionally, fish passage enhancements can be incorporated in the structure.
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A 75 ft span x 15 ft rise buried steel bridge was constructed over a creek crossing in Alaska.
Buried steel bridge is constructed with local crews in Buchanan County Iowa.
Steel buried bridges are durable and resilient, with the ability to support very heavy loads.