Modular Evolution

by Steven M. Shaker, Program Manager; Global Bridging Systems, Inc., Arlington, VA,
Jeffrey H. Greenwald, (A.M.ASCE), Project Eng.; Global Bridging Systems, Arlington, VA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 5, Pg. 64-67

Document Type: Feature article


The construction industry typically thinks of modular steel bridges in terms of the World War II vintage Bailey Bridge. The Bailey Bridge was designed to be quickly deployed to replace bridges blown up by the retreating enemy and to carry heavy military loads such as 40 ton tanks. Altogether, some 700,000 Bailey panels were produced during World War II. Today, Bailey Bridges are still used by state and local governments and private owners, and represent the potential of steel modular bridges to compete with conventional steel and concrete bridges as replacements for short-span bridges. In addition to Bailey, a number of other companies are also producing modular steel bridges of unlimited spans and widths, a multitude of configurations and geometries, meeting all AASHTO standards and any specialized performance requirements. Modular bridges can have a number of advantages over conventional bridges in several areas involving cost, such as engineering, erection time, labor, and maintenance and repair. In addition, the bridges might be more suitable to environmentally sensitive sites. The article describes a number of different modular steel bridge systems and how they can be applied to permanent, temporary and emergency bridges.

Subject Headings: Steel bridges | Modular structures | Maintenance and operation | Infrastructure construction | Concrete bridges | Bridge design | Steel construction

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