Short Span Steel Bridges are Cost-Effective on Several Levels.
Steel provides an economical choice for the repair or replacement of short span bridges.
- Due to the light weight of steel, cost savings can be significant: smaller abutments, use of local crews, fast installation, lighter equipment – when you add them all up, steel provides significant cost savings.
- Studies show that weathering, A1010, and galvanized steel reduces both initial and life cycle costs.
- Steel can compete and even save costs when compared with nearly identical concrete structures. A side-by-side comparison of steel versus concrete bridge showed a 19 percent savings by using steel in the total cost of the structure.
- Steel bridges also have long lives, decreasing the need for replacement. New press-brake-formed steel bridges have life expediencies of 100 years or more.
- Steel’s high strength permits longer spans, minimizing disruption to underlying habitats. In some cases, this can eliminate the need to undertake costly environmental impact studies.
- Steel is highly resistant to extreme natural disasters such as earthquakes. An example is the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake, which destroyed the surrounding transportation infrastructure but left 96% of the existing steel bridges completely undamaged, even though they were designed using 1940s technology.
- Steel is the world’s most recycled material and is infinitely recyclable, so it can be repurposed from one bridge project to another. Ohio’s Muskingum County Engineer’s Office (MCEO) estimates that $51,000 was saved in superstructure costs for replacement of the Green Valley Road Bridge.
- Short span steel bridges can be designed with prefabricated elements which provide a simpler installation and cost savings.
Dr. Barker developed a database to determine and compare the life cycle costs of steel and concrete girder bridges.
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