Steel Bridges Offer Practical Design
We need them to transport billions of tons in freight each year from coast to coast, yet the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that over 25 percent of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Repairing and/or replacing these bridges with modern steel bridge designs must be a national priority. Steel bridges offer owners practical design and accelerated bridge construction solutions that are durable, cost-effective and offer ease of maintenance and construction. In fact, high-performance steels can save up to 18 percent of a bridge project’s cost.
And new modular steel bridges are now available, which can be constructed in a single weekend. FHWA estimates that the investment backlog for the nation’s bridges is $121 billion. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) economic report on surface transportation (July 2011) found that deteriorating infrastructure will cost the American economy more than 876,000 jobs and suppress the growth of our gross domestic product (GDP) by $897 billion by the year 2020. The ASCE 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure graded the nation’s bridges with a “C+” and noted an annual investment need of $20.5 billion to eliminate the maintenance backlog by 2028.
America’s bridges are utilizing bridge technologies that help save taxpayer dollars as we rebuild our infrastructure over the next two decades. Designers and engineers can specify new high-performance steels (HPS), developed by member companies of AISI with the Ofﬁce of Naval Research and FHWA. These steels have superior toughness and can be welded with little or no preheat. Today, there are nearly 500 HPS bridges in use in 47 states.
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