Sustainability in Steel Bridge Construction

Today’s bridges are being designed to last 30 to 80 years before major maintenance or replacement is required (CE News, Sept. 2011).  Therefore, today’s infrastructure planning and design decisions will impact us far into the future – these decisions must be made with the application of sound sustainability practices.  Many different rating systems are currently being developd by various public and private organizations to evaluate the level of “sustainability” in a given project.  But, makes a project sustainable?  Some practices which can improve the sustainability of a project include:

Stormwater Management, including underground detention systems.
Onsite Material Recycling, including metal recovering & processing
Preservation / Reuse of current structures

Steel provides solutions in these three areas.

  • Corrugated Steel Pipe provides a cost-effective solution to stormwater management requirements and saves valuable space. These durable subsurface structures serve as detention, infiltration and filtration systems for site development.
  • Steel is North America’s Number #1 Recycled Material. Each year, more steel is recycled than aluminum, paper, glass and plastic combined! Scrap has become the steel industry’s single largest source of raw material because it is economically advantageous to recycle old steel into new steel.
  • Steel bridge are unique in the fact that many times, they can be preserved or even reused. In some cases, bridges over 100 years old have been rehabbed to allow traffic to travel over them once again.  For example High Steel Structures recently rehabbed the Gerloff Road Truss Rehabilitation in Montgomery County, PA.  Originally constructed in 1888, this wrought iron Phoenix Pratt truss is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. When PennDOT found it to be in need of rehabilitation, they faced a major challenge in determining how to rehab the bridge without distracting from or disrupting the historic truss. High Steel stepped in – with an end result is a completely independent arch structure that enables traffic to cross a previously closed bridge.

More information about sustainability and short span steel bridges can be found at www.ShortSpanSteelBridges.org

About Rich Tavoletti

Rich Tavoletti is Director of the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance. He is also Director of the Container Market program for the Steel Market Development Institute, a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, and Executive Director of the Canned Food Alliance. Rich has extensive experience in marketing and communications. He was marketing manager at the Steel Recycling Institute. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He can be reached at rtavoletti@steel.org.
This entry was posted in Corrugated Steel Pipe, Historic Bridges, Material Recycling, Short Span Bridges, Steel Bridges, Sustainability, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sustainability in Steel Bridge Construction

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