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Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. will introduce 44-in.-deep wide flange structural shapes this year, becoming the first mill in the Western Hemisphere to produce sections at that depth. The beams are ideal for the growing number of short-span bridges that need repairs or replacements. They can be used as primary bridge beams that carry the bridge deck and roadway surface.

Manufacturers know beams perform well over time and they can use beams rather than weld together several plates. That makes for a simpler design and cheaper installation. But until now, the deepest beams came in only 40-in. sections. The new W44 beams from Nucor-Yamato Steel will eliminate at least 25% of the beam weight on a 120-ft bridge, said Steve Patrick, vice president of Roscoe Bridge, a provider of pre-engineered modular steel bridges. A typical application will require only two W44 beams per module, rather than three W40 beams.

And the W44 beams increase the range for HS-20-rated bridges to 150 ft in length, a 25% improvement from the previous limit of 120 ft, Patrick said. That saves customers money on installation and requires only simple support abutments.

The first production rolling of the W44 sections began the week of May 25, 2008.

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