Steel is North America’s Number #1 Recycled Material
Increasingly, short span bridge owners and designers are emphasizing the importance of sustainability in their repair and replacement projects. The impact of the bridge on the environment has become an important consideration when choosing a material.
Short span steel bridges are sustainable because:
- Steel from a disassembled bridge can be used again for another project. When Hurricane Ivan damaged the bridge over Florida’s Escambia Bay in Pensacola, contractors used 36-inch steel beams from a disassembled bridge in Tennessee to make substructure repairs. In Muskingum County, Ohio, five bridges have been replaced with repurposed steel, saving costs as well as resources.
- Press-brake-formed steel tub girder bridges can last 100 years or more, with minimal maintenance over their long service lives.
- The high strength of steel permits longer spans, which minimizes disruption to underlying habitats.
- Steel is highly resistant to extreme natural disasters such as earthquakes.
- The American steel industry has achieved a 31 percent reduction in energy intensity and a 36 percent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity since 1990.
Muskingum County saved $51,000 by using repurposed beams.