Durability, long life are most important characteristics of a bridge

News Roads&Bridges, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute April 19, 2004
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Durability and long-life rate as the most important characteristic of a bridge-building material or system, according to bridge

Durability and long-life rate as the most important characteristic of a bridge-building material or system, according to bridge designers and engineers recently surveyed by ROADS & BRIDGES and the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI). Reduced maintenance and reduced long-term or life-cycle costs was rated as No. 2 in importance. Quality assurance came in third, followed by reduced first costs and the ability to provide long spans. Also rated high in importance by those surveyed were building systems that could speed construction, require fewer delays and allow for building in any weather and at night.


In addition, the bridge engineers surveyed tended to favor building systems that provide extensive engineering services, custom solutions and design-build capabilities, as well as those that offer environmentally friendly benefits and address concerns raised by the new LRFG design code and specifications.


When asked to list top market concerns, bridge builders mentioned "cost" most often. However, most respondents noted life-cycle costs rather than initial costs as a top concern.


Other often-cited concerns included the need for rapid construction, lower maintenance requirements and improved quality control. Also mentioned were environmental issues, span lengths, safety, corrosion and lack of funding.


According to survey respondents, top bridge industry trends include the shift to fabricated or modular systems that make for quicker and easier construction and the trend to design-build concepts. Integral backwall bridges, longer span precast/prestressed bridges, increased post-tensioning and segmental construction, and staged construction, and staged construction to reduce public hardship also were noted.


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