According to the American Society for Civil Engineers, more than 26% (one in four) of the nation’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete (see http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/fact-sheet/bridges). Over half of these bridges are in rural locations, and essential to the lifeline of many small towns throughout the United States.
These short span bridges (typically 140 feet or less) connected families with their family, community, local businesses, and emergency essentials. In some locations, one bridge out of service can disrupt an entire community. This is exactly what happened in Mt. Olive Township, N.J.
An article that appeared in RAI Magazine (June 2012) detailed how Hurricane Irene washed away a local bridge in 2011, causing not only logistical problems, but also an emergency medical situation. A family with a special needs child required regular medical care – they relied on the bridge for access to a local medical facility. Thanks to the assistance of a local steel bridge fabricator, a 30-foot-long by 12-foot-wide, simple steel beam bridge designed to carry HS20 loads, was quickly installed.
Short span steel bridges have been used to connect communities for over a century. Steel bridges can be quickly fabricated and installed which saves communities, such as Mt. Olive, time and money and in some cases, fast access to emergency services.
The Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance recently made it very easy to develop — at no cost — designs, standards, and prefabricated solutions for crossing under 140 feet through the development of eSPAN140. In 3 simple steps, a bridge owner or designer can get the information needed to design a short span steel bridge or culvert.
Here’s a short video about eSPAN140.
Brian P. Keierleber, P.E., County Engineer, Buchanan County Iowa, says that eSpan140 has provided him with a fast and cost-effective way to a professionally rendered short span steel bridge design. “I have confidence in these designs and details as they were developed by university researchers who are national experts in bridge design and construction.” The payoff for Keierleber? “After I put in my specific bridge information, I get a design that I can take to a fabricator. This saves time for me and precious funds for our county. It is one more tool in the tool box providing for economical options.”
Go to http://www.eSPAN140.com to set up a free account. It’s your first step to start on a short span steel bridge design.