Instant Steel Bridge: Accelerated Bridge Construction With Steel

A remarkable feat took place recently in Boston, MA.  A bridge, owned by the The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, that would “normally involve two years of detours and frustration for local drivers” (according to an article in the New York Times) was replaced in one weekend. See a time-lapsed video and more information here.

The article highlights the fact that by using “accelerated bridge construction” techniques, a collection of technologies and methods that can shave months if not years off the process of building and replacing critical infrastructure, Massachusetts is at the forefront of a national effort that is aimed at putting drivers first.

Victor M. Mendez, the head of the Federal Highway Administration, said “This will be the new normal,”

In order to achieve these feats, many engineers and DOTs are utilizing steel for the projects which required accelerated construction. Short span steel bridges provide many advantages for accelerated construction.  In 2010, The Utah Department of Transportation decided to install a pre-fabricated steel bridge in order to save time and money.  According to Tom Christensen, P.E., project engineer with Jones & DeMille Engineering, “We specified prefabricated steel on this project for several reasons. One reason was that steel beams are typically shallower than pre-fabricated, pre-stressed concrete systems, which allowed us to keep a low bridge profile height. The second factor was cost. The pre-fabricated steel beams were less expensive than comparable pre-fabricated concrete systems.”

Utah DOT, Axtell,UT, Sevier River Bridge

Utah DOT prefabricated steel bridge, Axtell, UT. Bridge was built using accelerated bridge design and construction guidelines. Fabricated by Wheeler Bridge.

You can learn more about the advantages of steel in accelerated construction by viewing several case studies at the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance web site.

Also see:

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
This entry was posted in Accelerated Bridge Design and Construction, Bridge Design Economics, Installation, Prefabricated Bridges, Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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