eSPAN140 by the Numbers

espan140 screenshot multi-screenSometimes the numbers speak for themselves. eSPAN140, the free, web-based design tool for short span steel bridges, is saving significant time and costs for county engineers, bridge owners, and state/federal Department of Transportation engineers. Here are the numbers on eSPAN140 since the tool was launched in 2012:

  • 3,000 – The number of potential designs considered by a collaborative team of bridge owners (DOT and county engineers), manufacturers, fabricators, bridge design experts, academics, and steel professionals for inclusion in eSPAN140.
  • 943 – The number of short span steel bridge preliminary designs developed with eSPAN140 in the United States.
  • 57 – The number of short span steel bridge preliminary designs developed in Canada with eSPAN140.
  • 44 – The number of short span steel bridge preliminary designs developed outside of the U.S. and Canada.
  • 73.9 – The average length (in feet) of an eSPAN140-designed bridge.
  • 29.5 – The average width (in feet) of an eSPAN140-designed bridge.
  • 5 – The top states using the eSPAN140 tool are Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Indiana.
  • 3 – The number of project parameters―bridge span length, number of striped traffic lanes, and road width―needed to receive a customized steel solution for any project.
  • 1 – The number of Demonstration Bridges completed using eSPAN140. Read about the Jesup South Bridge in Buchanan County, Iowa, and innovative County Engineer Brian Keierleber, P.E., here.

And the most important numbers for bridge designers:

  • 5 – The number of minutes it takes to receive a customized steel solution from eSPAN140. Usually, it takes less than five minutes. 
  • 3 – The minimum number of steps needed to receive a customized steel solution from eSPAN140.
  • 1 – The number of times that a county engineer, bridge owner, or state/federal Department of Transportation engineer needs to use eSPAN140 before becoming convinced it can be used for other projects.
  • 0 – The cost to use eSPAN140. It’s free to use at Specific technical questions can be directed to experts at the Bridge Technology Center, which is also free of charge.

Here are more numbers to consider: In a comparison of two nearly identical short span bridges in Audrain County, Missouri―one constructed from concrete, the other from steel―the steel bridge saved over 25 percent on the superstructure and over 19 percent on the total cost of the structure (Read more here).

When crunching the numbers, it’s evident that steel provides a cost-effective solution for upcoming short span bridge projects and that eSPAN140 is the easiest and most time-saving tool for designing them. Get started today.

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Spotlight on the Buchanan County, Iowa Secondary Roads Department

Buchanan County Bridge CrewOn January 8, 2014, employees of the Buchanan County, Iowa Secondary Roads Department found themselves the guests of honor at a dinner and reception with local officials and members of the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance (SSSBA). The celebratory event was held to recognize their work in rebuilding the Jesup South Bridge, the first project in the country to be constructed using the new short span steel bridge design tool eSPAN140. Project leader and County Engineer Brian Keierleber, P.E., summed it up by saying: “This type of recognition for County employees almost never happens.” (Read about the event in the Independence Bulletin Journal).

What was all the fuss about?  For residents, the big news was replacing the 22-ft.-wide original concrete bridge (built in 1947, with a sufficiency rating of less than 50) with a 40-ft.-wide span, making it much easier for cars and agricultural vehicles to get where they need to go. As taxpayers, they also realized significant savings with the use of the design tool SPAN140 and materials donated by SSSBA members who wanted to showcase the benefits of eSPAN140. (Read about the project here).

For County Engineer Brian Keierleber, the big news was significant time and cost savings on this high-profile project. When using the free, web-based eSPAN140 tool, Brian keyed in a few project parameters and received customized, cost-effective steel solutions for the new Jesup South Bridge in less than five minutes. This simple design process freed up more time for the planning and actual construction of the bridge, saving taxpayers’ money and providing a prototype for future projects.

For the actual bridge construction crew, the big news is that they were able to participate in building the bridge, while the county saved labor costs by using the local crew. The crew will also be the stars in a new training video that the SSSBA is putting together to introduce eSPAN140 and the step-by-step bridge-building process to county crews in other states. Feedback received from the Buchanan County employees is being used to develop the training video, which the SSSBA will use at industry conferences, Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) training events, and other bridge-related educational workshops.
You don’t need to wait for the training video to try eSPAN140. Go to and key in the parameters for one of your own projects, and see what you get. If you have technical questions, you can get free consultation from an expert at the Bridge Technology Center. If you just want more information about eSPAN140, you can visit the SSSBA website at or contact Dan Snyder at

Put yourself and your crew in the spotlight with cost and time savings gained with eSPAN140, where everyone wins.

Posted in County Bridges, Iowa Demonstration, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SSSBA Blog – A Practical New Year’s Resolution

It’s a brand new year, and for many of us, that means reflecting on the year past to assess what we did right and what we can do better in 2014.

For county engineers and other bridge design professionals, a key goal in the new year will be to find ways to save their organizations time and money while repairing and rebuilding short span bridges. We can help.

If you haven’t tried designing a short span steel bridge (under 140 feet) in three steps or less with eSPAN140, make this the year to try it. Go to, type in the parameters for your project, and get a customized steel solution in less than five minutes.

The Jesup South bridge in Buchanan County, Iowa is expected to save thousands of dollars for County Engineer Brian Keierleber and the taxpayers there. Designed in less than five minutes and constructed in just two months, the new Jesup South bridge is nearly twice the width of the original concrete bridge and can now carry the heavy loads required for trucks and agricultural equipment. Read about the new bridge here.

Bridge professionals in Kentucky are already making plans to attend the third annual Kentucky Bridge Engineering Seminar Day on February 4 in Lexington. One of the sessions offered that day will be “Economical Short Span Steel Bridges and eSPAN140,” which will be presented by a member of the SSSBA’s Bridge Technology Center. Feedback on the SSSBA session from participants at such events has always been positive.

At the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance, our New Year’s resolution is to continue to introduce bridge design professionals in the U.S., Canada and Mexico to the time-saving, cost-effective benefits of using steel to design lightweight, durable steel bridges of 140 feet or less…..and the ease of designing those bridges with eSPAN140.

In 2014, resolve to check out the benefits of short span steel bridge design and eSPAN140. To schedule a seminar or webinar, or to speak with someone directly, contact Dan Snyder at 301.367.6179 or; or browse our website at

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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Jesup South Bridge to be Held on November 1, 2013

Jesup Bridge Ribbon Cutting Keierleber and Gomez

We hope you’ve been following the live Webcam progress on construction of the Jesup South Bridge in Buchanan County, Iowa over the past couple of months. The existing bridge was built in 1947, had a sufficiency rating of less than 50, and was only 22-ft. wide—not nearly wide enough to handle modern-day farm equipment and increased traffic demand on one of the county’s busiest roads.

Iowa County Engineer Brian Keierleber, P.E. (left, shown with Matt Gomez of Gerdau), designed the new bridge with a free, easy-to-use web-based tool called eSPAN140. Brian typed in the specifications for his project—including bridge span length, number of striped traffic lanes, roadway and width and skew angle—and received a steel bridge design solution in less than five minutes. Construction began in late August, and a live Webcam has been recording the progress since then. The new bridge will be dedicated on November 1, 2013. The festivities begin at noon with a complimentary lunch provided by Buchanan County, Iowa and AZZ Galvanizing, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1:00 PM CT. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will feature remarks by Iowa Senator Brian Schoenjahn; Mayor of Jesup Dick Quackenbush; Buchanan County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ralph Kremer, and others. See the event schedule here.

The new bridge is 40-ft. wide and features galvanized steel rolled beams and galvanized rebar. Many of the materials were provided by partnering companies that wanted to demonstrate the benefits of using eSPAN140 to county engineers in Iowa and across the country. The successful project is a win for these companies, but the big winners are the residents of Buchanan County, who now have a new bridge to meet their traffic needs; and Brian Keierleber, who gained significant time and cost efficiencies by using eSPAN140.

For more information about the project, click here.

For information on the benefits of eSPAN140 for your county bridges, contact Dan Snyder at the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance at

Posted in Iowa Demonstration, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

eSPAN140 Demonstration Bridge Deck Pour

The Jesup South short span steel bridge in Buchanan County, Iowa is getting closer to completion due to the excellent work of the Buchanan County crew and the project sponsors.

Check out the video from the live construction webcam.

As a part of his work with eSPAN140 and the Bridge Technology Center, Dr. Karl Barth, West Virginia University, set in place measurement tools just before the deck pour on October 24.  The purpose is to monitor major axis bending and lateral flange bending during the placement of the concrete deck.  The results of this work will be made available in the coming months.  To contact Dr. Barth about this research or eSPAN140, click here.


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eSPAN140 Iowa Demonstration Bridge Beams Set

The beams arrived fresh from galvanizing and quality check at AZZ in Canton, Ohio on October 2 and were set on the bridge construction site in Buchanan County, Iowa on the same day.

Hat’s off to the local Buchanan County work crew who set the beams.  From left to right Alex Davis , Charles Kivell, Stacy Henderson, Richard Lehs, Mike Rasmussen, Richard Wendling, Phil Fangman, and Randy Andrews.


View the video from the live webcam of the bridge construction. Continue reading

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Quick Look at Steel Beam Fabrication Process

The steel beams for the eSPAN140 Demonstration bridge in Buchanan County, Iowa were fabricated at the US Bridge fabrication plant in Cambridge, Ohio. This 30-second video clip offers a quick look at various parts of the steel beam fabrication process.

Check out the video of the live webcam that recorded the bridge construction including bridge beams being set, the deck pour, from bridge construction start to finish.

Posted in Iowa Demonstration, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

3-D Model of Buchanan County, Iowa Bridge

Check out this 3D Model of the Buchanan, Iowa bridge that was developed by US Bridge when detailing the bridge. It’s known as “BrIM”, Bridge Information Modeling.  According to Dennis Gonano of US Bridge, the BrIM was converted from AutoCAD to an Adobe PDF file. (Note: eSPAN140 was used to create the first iteration of the bridge design.)

Download and open the PDF file linked here and to the image below and you will be able to manipulate the model to view different bridge details such as beams, deck, railings, etc or turn off various bridge components, or change colors of things. Pretty cool tool.

USBridge_3D_IowaBridgePDFNote: This PDF file will work with any Acrobat Reader.

The bridge was built quickly, using local crews. Check out the video from the Buchanan County, Iowa live webcam.

Posted in Bridge Design Economics, Iowa Demonstration, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Buchanan County Demonstration Bridge Schedule

Please note that this schedule is estimated and subject to change.

Watch the demonstration bridge construction. Click here to view the video from the live webcam.


Aug 27 – Sept 17: Fabrication at US Bridge including hole drilling and cutting for plates, beams and diaphragms), welding stiffeners. railing fabrication

Sept 18: ship to AZZ in Canton, Ohio for galvanizing

Sept 20 – 25: Galvanizing and quality check prior to shipping to job site.

Week of September 23: Delivery to Buchanan County, Iowa job site

On-Site Bridge Construction Schedule

Aug 20 –  22: Structural removal. road closure and equipment hammer and ball

Aug 23  – 26: Begin shaping slopes

Aug 27: Begin placing fabric and riprap  Non-Woven geotextile and Class E revetment (trucks)

Aug 28 – 30: Placing riprap and fabric

Sept 3 – 4:  Bore holes for H-piles (sub contractor with rock drill

Sept 5 – 6  Tie abutment steel. Galvanized rebar, chairs, hoop steel, wire ties

Sept 9: Pour one abutment

Sept 10: Strip forms tie abutment steel

Sept 11 – 12: Tie abutment steel

Sept 13:  Pour abutment

Sept 14: Strip forms and set beams

October 3: Delivery of beams and diaphragms

October 4:  Set Beams

October 7 – 9: Install diaphragms

October 10 : Decking

October 11: Stay in place forms

October 14:  Tie steel

Oct 15:  Deck preparation and deck pour

Oct 16: Deck pour

Oct 17 – 21: Set barrier rails and posts

Oct 22 – 25: Pour approaches

Oct 28:  Cleanup

Nov. 1: Ribbon cutting ceremony on site.

Nov. 1:  Open to Traffic

Research – Directed by Dr. Karl Barth, West Virginia University and Michael Gary Barker, University of Wyoming

Oct 23 – 24: Set measuring devices in place.

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Demonstration Bridge News Articles

Check out the news articles about the demonstration bridge in Iowa.

NACE_Masthead     Montnly Newsltter – November 2013

bulletin-journal_logo     LocalNews_RibbonCuttingNovember 1, 2013

MSClogo_cropped     Modern Steel Construction (PDF) – November 2013

  enrLogo2      Engineeing News Record (special section – September 2013

Iowa-DOT-logo Iowa DOT (website) – August 2013

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