Compact steel panel bridges support work-zone safety

June 25, 2015
VDOT builds the compact panel bridge on Route 721 in Fredericksburg, Va.
VDOT builds the compact panel bridge on Route 721 in Fredericksburg, Va.

Like many of the aging bridges in the nation, a 63-year-old bridge in Fredericksburg, Va., was deemed ready for retirement. After inspection, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) determined that the two-lane, steel and beam bridge was no longer safe for motorists and needed to be replaced. According to VDOT traffic data, the bridge averaged 440 vehicles per day so even though the site was in a rural area, the road closure and subsequent 22-mile detour was significant to local residents.

The good news was that the detour only lasted a couple of weeks because VDOT chose to install a Mabey Compact 200 Bridge, known for its quick assembly and ‘erector-set’ characteristics. VDOT assembled the 120-ft steel panel bridge on site and completed installation in less than a week.

The Compact 200 steel panel bridge was provided by Mabey Inc., a construction equipment rental company, located near Baltimore, Md. The Compact 200 is a panel bridge designed with modular components that stack easily on a flatbed truck and are assembled quickly in the field. Modular bridges, like the Compact 200, can be built without the need for specialty tools and with minimal crew. The Compact 200 is ideal for fast bridge replacement for unsupported spans up to 200 ft or longer when using bridge piers. The bridge’s modular design is also used for a variety of applications, from pedestrian bridges to bridges that can accommodate three lanes of traffic. Mabey offers a full line of panel bridges for temporary and permanent use.

What makes panel bridges so vital to infrastructure development (aside from portability and quick assembly) is that they minimize the need for road closures and detours. Work-zone safety is always a concern, especially when road or bridge work requires lane closures and detours, affecting regular traffic patterns. Anytime that happens, the risk of road hazards increases for workers and drivers alike. The faster you can remove the need for detours or lane closures, the safer you can make the roadways.

Mabey is proud to supply bridging solutions across the nation to support infrastructure big and small — from the projects involving major arteries such as I-95, to remote country roads that cross gorges and creek beds — all vital to the communities that depend on them to safely transport their kids to school and families to work.

For more on this project, go to

To find out more about Mabey’s temporary and permanent bridging or other shoring and support services, visit

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