Structural Steel in Bridge Construction and Infrastructure
Construction and infrastructure are two terms often used interchangeably, but they differ in the types of structures they create. Construction involves developing individual buildings, while infrastructure focuses on the support structures of a large project, including the equipment and utilities of a building. Infrastructure also refers to the interconnected systems that people use for transport, such as tunnels, highways, roads, and bridges. Both construction and infrastructure rely on structural steel.

Structural steel is a core component of bridges, as the material’s properties offer substantial benefits for bridge construction and infrastructure throughout towns, cities, and regions.

Benefits of Using Structural Steel for New Bridge Construction

Structural steel is a powerful component in the construction of new bridges. With proper maintenance, structural steel bridges can last over 100 years. The steel can be fabricated offsite, transported to the site, and easily erected once there. By doing so, construction companies can operate according to an accelerated schedule, which can help reduce labor costs. Unlike other building materials, structural steel can create lightweight superstructures that reduce overall costs and withstand seismic forces.

Structural steel’s natural resilience can also withstand harsh weather events. This resilience also enables steel bridges to be strengthened or otherwise adapted to roadway widening, new live loadings, and other configuration changes.

Structural Steel in Bridge Infrastructure

Known for its high strength-to-weight ratio, steel is extremely strong and durable. Compared to other building materials, less steel is required in a single beam to support a load, reducing material costs. Structural steel also exhibits excellent impact resistance, key to a structurally sound bridge. Furthermore, structural steel can be fabricated into many shapes and sizes, allowing designers and construction crews to craft bridges appropriate for local needs and varying terrains.

Applications of Structural Steel in Bridges: Construction and Infrastructure

Several common bridge types are fabricated from structural steel due to the material’s strength and durability:

  • Beam bridges: In beam bridges, steel beams support the deck.
  • Truss bridges: Structural steel is constructed to form triangles that distribute the load more uniformly and with more stability.
  • Arch bridges: One can also find structural steel in arch bridges, where the steel arch supports the deck.
  • Suspension bridges: Due to their high tensile strength, structural steel is used in the main cables that hold up the deck of suspension bridges.
  • Press-brake-formed tub girder bridges: For these types of tub girders, a press-brake forms two webs, which are bolted to a flange plate to create the tub. Built-up press-brake-formed tub girders do not require welding and can accommodate spans up to 300 feet. Infra-Metals creates the shells for this type of bridge.
  • Transportation infrastructure: Structural steel continues to play a role in many transportation infrastructure applications, including bridge pylons and railway tracks.

Structural Steel From Infra-Metals

If you’re establishing a materials management plan for a new construction or infrastructure project, you need a service provider with the experience, production, and distribution capabilities of Infra-Metals. As one of the largest structural steel providers in the U.S., we offer metal beams, tubes, channels, plates, and other essential components for bridge construction and support. With more than three decades of experience providing steel components, we have the resources you need for your next steel bridge construction project.

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