ArcelorMittal Long Products - Benefits of steel solutions in bridge design

Today's modern bridge construction projects face totally new challenges. The public, the regulators and the authorities demand structures that are cost effective during their planning, execution, lifetime and dismantling. This translates into a higher relevance of the life cycle costs, and the so-called external costs associated with the execution and maintenance of the structure.

Bridge DesignExtract 1 of the video. @ArcelorMittal Long Products

Politicians, building regulators and other decision makers face the challenge of choosing sustainable bridge designs, for which the price of the construction is not the only variable, but one of many, such as construction time, social impact (during construction and operation), environmental impact, maintenance, etc. Current procurement practices tend to favour the most economical bridge design. Unfortunately, today's awarding practice often results in cheap bridge designs with low construction cost, disregarding expenses due to operation and maintenance, and ignoring the impact that longer construction times have on traffic conditions and the public.

Approximately 80% of the bridges that comprise the European road network can be classified as small or medium span structures of less than 50 m. When performing a very simple analysis, reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete appear to be the most cost-efficient solutions available. On the other hand, it is widely accepted among the construction industry that composite structures are the best solution for spans larger than 50 m, when height restrictions apply, or if shorter construction periods are required [1]. In recent years, numerous studies and examples have demonstrated that composite bridges provide cost effective solutions for shorter span structures even if these conditions do not apply.

Ellerholzrampe BruckeEllerholzrampe Brücke, Deutschland, ©ArcelorMittal Spundwand

The right choice of bridge design

For two-span road bridges with an average span and traditional abutments, manufacture of the abutments accounts for approximately 40% of total manufacturing costs of the bridge without temporary pit walls required; this rises to roughly 55% when temporary retaining walls are required for the construction [2]. In these situations, abutments with sheet piles are a smart alternative to traditional construction, as the sheet pile can take over both functions, serve as retaining walls, and as permanent load-bearing structural elements [3].

Steel sheet piles are always highly cost-effective whenever the construction of the structure requires additional temporary pit walls. This is the case when a change of ground level is to be accommodated during the construction stage, when building below the groundwater table and when the excavation pit needs to be protected against flooding. Further, use of steel sheet pile abutments instead of abutments with temporary buildings pit walls, can reduce total construction time by a minimum of 10% [5].

Grafiken CostsBenefits of steel solutions in bridges

There are also significant advantages when building the bridge deck using composite sections that are manufactured based on hot-rolled, high strength steel sections. To reduce the space needed for the construction site, these composite elements can be partially prefabricated offsite and supplied to the construction site as load bearing elements during construction and the final stages. In addition, it is possible to install the prefabricated bridge girders during brief shut down periods of the crossed road, avoiding major disturbances to commuters, allowing traffic to circulate below the bridge while any subsequent work is safely carried out above the carriageway.

ZweifeldbruckeZweifeldbrucke, Deutschland

The hidden costs of traffic congestion

Not only the direct building costs must be considered, but also the economic costs generated by delays, increased fuel consumption and air pollution caused by traffic congestion during the bridge's life cycle. Congestion has a massive economic impact. According to data published in 2016, the average cost per hour that a European passenger spends stuck in traffic is estimated at 20€ [6].

Choosing a design with a reduced construction time, and with low maintenance requirements, becomes a priority when a global analysis contemplates the cost of the external effects. Especially as one of the main reasons for slow moving traffic, the construction sites, are going to grow in number in the coming years, as the infrastructure investment in Europe is foreseen to increase.

The study

Bridge Abutment ArcelorBridge abutment, Luxembourg, ©ArcelorMittal Photo Library
Nowadays, some feasibility studies analyse the operation and maintenance costs, but most of them disregard the economic impact of external costs generated by delays, increased fuel consumption and air pollution caused by traffic congestion during the construction, maintenance and repairs of a bridge design life.

A case study, performed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), assesses all associated costs and performance of a traditional concrete bridge versus a bridge whose abutments are constructed using steel sheet pile sections. This comparison is performed for a two-span superstructure with spans of 22,50 m and a superstructure width of 11,50 m accounting for a standard crossing of a national road over a 3-lane motorway with an average daily traffic (ADT) of 70'000 vehicles:

Option 1: Steel Sheet Pile abutment (SSP abutment)
  • 16 m long piles on the front wall
  • 13 m long piles on the lateral wings.
Option 2: Reinforced concrete abutment (RC abutment)
  • 4 piles per abutment plus 2 per wing wall
  • 10 m length concrete piles of 90 cm diameter.
Choosing a bridge designed with steel sheet pile abutments and a composite deck built with steel sections leads to global cost benefits such as:
  • 7% reduction on construction costs
  • 3.5% reduction on lifecycle costs over 100 years lifetime (based on a real discount rate of 2%)
  • Up to15 % reduction in the economic impact of the external effects during the service life of the structure.
Bridge-Building Technologies of the Future: Fast, Efficient and Economical in the Long Term

Composite steel bridges with steel sheet pile abutments are robust structures that require limited maintenance and repairs due to use of state-of-the-art corrosion protection techniques, which ensure 100-year design life without need to replace any component.

Steel sections offer the advantage of easy dismantling, recovery and recycling after the bridge service life, ensuring that no residues remain in the soil, and adding a valuable contribution to the circular economy. This helps to prevent abuse of natural resources.

References:
  1. Friedrich H.: Aktuelle Herausforderungen und zukünftige Entwicklungen im Brückenbau im Bundesfernstraßennetz. Stahlbau 87 (2018), issue 6.
  2. Schmitt V., Seidl G., Vogel C.: Untersuchungen zum verstärkten Einsatz von Stahlverbundkonstruktionen bei Brücken kleiner und mittlerer Stützweiten. P629 Forschungsvereinigung Stahlanwendungen e.V., final report, 2006
  3. Grundbau-Taschenbuch. 8th edition, Ernst & Sohn, 2018
  4. RI-WI-BRÜ – Richtlinie zur Durchführung von Wirtschaftlichkeitsuntersuchungen im Rahmen von Instandsetzungs-/ Erneuerungsmaßnahmen bei Straßenbrücken, BMVBS, 2007
  5. Zinke T.: Neue Brücken braucht das Land. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Verlagsspezial / Zukunft Stahl / 30 November 2017.
  6. Zinke T.: Nachhaltigkeit von Infrastrukturbauwerken – Ganzheitliche Bewertung von Autobahnbrücken unter besonderer Berücksichtigung externer Effekte. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing, Dissertation 2016. Available online http://www.ksp.kit.edu/download/1000053695
Our steel builds bridges

Hot-rolled sections and sheet piles produced by ArcelorMittal: our contribution to pioneering projects.
NBM&CW March 2019
Dynapac Machines Deployed on Prestigious Palkhi Marg Project in Maharashtra

Dynapac Machines Deployed on Prestigious Palkhi Marg Project in Maharashtra

The Palkhi Marg holds deep significance as a pathway of faith for devotees of Lord Vitthal. Every year, thousands of ‘warkaris’ embark on a spiritual journey to the temple town of Pandharpur in Maharashtra. With the vision to create a Bhakti Marg and ensure

Read more ...

Delhi Vadodara Expressway Package-1 An overview

Delhi Vadodara Expressway Package-1 An overview

The Delhi-Vadodara Expressway is a part of the most anxiously awaited Delhi-Mumbai Expressway - the foundation stone for which was laid on March 8th 2019. Also referred to as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, it is planned as part of the Bharatmala

Read more ...

Bonded Rigid Pavement - A New Edge Concrete Pavement

Bonded Rigid Pavement - A New Edge Concrete Pavement

The exponential growth of the highway infrastructure in the past two decades has increased demand for long-lasting, durable pavements. Rigid pavements are suitable for heavily trafficked areas and are found to be performing satisfactorily with minimum

Read more ...

BRO Builds ‘Zero Fatality Corridors’ in Arunachal Pradesh

BRO Builds ‘Zero Fatality Corridors’ in Arunachal Pradesh

Through its unwavering commitment to road safety, eco-conscious practices, and visionary solutions, the Border Roads Organisation is elevating the standard of road infrastructure development in India. In Arunachal Pradesh, its contributions

Read more ...

Engineering Measures for Pothole Prevention

Engineering Measures for Pothole Prevention

Roads, pavements, and other paved surfaces have depressions in them called potholes which are caused by a variety of conditions. They not only present a serious risk to traffic and pedestrians, but also necessitate expensive repairs by local governments and

Read more ...

Pavement Marking Essential For Road Safety

Pavement Marking Essential For Road Safety

Vivek Singh, Founder, BuildStreet delves into the significance of pavement marking, its objective, and importance, with a focus on Hot Applied Thermoplastic paint - the predominant choice for road markings in India, its technical aspects, application methodology

Read more ...

GAEPL Achieves Record Paving of 100 lane-km in 100 hours

GAEPL Achieves Record Paving of 100 lane-km in 100 hours

Ghaziabad Aligarh Expressway Private Limited (GAEPL), under the guidance of Cube Highways, has set an example of speedy, safe, and sustainable road construction through research, integration of advanced technology, following best international practices

Read more ...

Indian Companies Delivering Projects Overseas

Indian Companies Delivering Projects Overseas

External affairs minister S. Jaishankar during his visit interacted with the workers and the senior staff, and lauded the role of Indian infra companies, saying that he was “impressed by their enthusiasm”. “Strong economics will complement shared values in taking

Read more ...

NHAI awards 6,003 km of highway projects in FY23

NHAI awards 6,003 km of highway projects in FY23

According to Motilal Oswal Financial Services, the infra project awarding activity picked up and gathered pace in Q4 of FY23, with NHAI awarding total projects of 6,003 km in FY23, much below its FY23 target of 6,500 km. The total value of projects awarded

Read more ...

Is the Indian Road Sector Navigating a Smooth Journey?

Is the Indian Road Sector Navigating a Smooth Journey?

This report covers the current state of the Indian Road Sector, performance of road projects under Hybrid Annuity Model, financial performance of major road developers, and the outlook for FY24. CareEdge Ratings analysed 235 HAM projects awarded between

Read more ...

Balanced Mix Design for Bituminous Mixes

Balanced Mix Design for Bituminous Mixes

As more than 90% of the roads in India have bituminous surfacing, a proper bituminous mix design also assumes significance for better performance of the bituminous roads. India is currently witnessing huge investments by the Indian Government towards

Read more ...

Sustainable Road Construction in Hilly Region

Sustainable Road Construction in Hilly Region

Siksha Swaroopa Kar, Principal Scientist, Amit Kumar, Technical Officer, Krishan, Technician, Flexible Pavement Division, CSIR-CRRI, New Delhi, discuss mechanized laying of cold bituminous layer, the mixer and paver that have been fabricated, and the effectiveness

Read more ...

Implementation of Road Maintenance Management System - Benefits & Technologies

Implementation of Road Maintenance Management System - Benefits & Technologies

The maintenance of road pavements is essential to ensure the safety, reliability, and sustainability of road networks. A road maintenance management system (RMMS) involves effective management of resources to optimize the life cycle of roads, reduce maintenance

Read more ...

Replacement of Steel Reinforcement with  Synthetic Fibre for Concrete Pavement & Floor

Replacement of Steel Reinforcement with Synthetic Fibre for Concrete Pavement & Floor

Manoj Didwania, Adani Total Gas Ltd, Dharamsinh Desai University (DDU-Nadiad), Cept University, presents a paper on the use of Macro Synthetic Reinforcement Fibre (MSRF) as full or partial replacement of Steel Reinforcement for Concrete Pavement

Read more ...

GTI® Reinforced Soil Slope System

GTI® Reinforced Soil Slope System

GTI® is involved in developing environmentally friendly construction products and systems, which are critical for achieving infrastructure growth in a sustainable manner. The company’s GTI® Sloping Fascia Unit and the new system GTI® Reinforced Soil Slopes

Read more ...

CRISIL: Debt to rise for road developers amid strong revenue growth

CRISIL: Debt to rise for road developers amid strong revenue growth

Sizeable equity commitments in under-construction projects and rising working capital requirement will increase the debt burden of road developers, though revenue growth will also be high in the next two fiscals driven by strong awarding and execution

Read more ...

Indian Toll Roads to witness moderation in growth to high single digits in FY2024 after a stellar 17-20% growth in FY2023: ICRA

Indian Toll Roads to witness moderation in growth to high single digits in FY2024 after a stellar 17-20% growth in FY2023: ICRA

WPI for December 2022 is significantly lower at 5.0% against WPI of 14.27% in December 2021. ICRA Ratings expects the toll road projects growth to moderate to high single digit in FY2024 after a 17-20% growth witnessed in FY2023 with moderation in the

Read more ...

Road Over Umling-La Pass at 19,024 Feet

Road Over Umling-La Pass at 19,024 Feet

Construction of World’s Highest Motorable Road Chismule – Demchok In Eastern Ladakh Using Non-Frost Susceptible Sub-Base. Union Territory of Ladakh is located at approx 11,000 feet above Mean Sea Level (MSL). The area experiences extreme cold

Read more ...

BRO Uses Eco-Friendly Steel Slag For Road Construction

BRO Uses Eco-Friendly Steel Slag For Road Construction

Steel slag, a by-product of steel making, is produced during the separation of the molten steel from impurities in steelmaking furnaces. This process generates slag as a molten liquid melt and is a complex solution of silicates and oxides that solidifies

Read more ...

Potholes to become history breakthrough by Zydex

Potholes to become history breakthrough by Zydex

Vadodara-based Zydex Industries has developed a new technology in road construction that enables roads to resist cracking under heavy traffic loads and cyclic weather variations. The speciality chemicals company has been at the forefront of R&D and implementation

Read more ...

To get latest updates on whatsapp, Save +91 93545 87773 and send us a 'Saved' message
Click Here to Subscribe to Our eNewsletter.