Competitive Edge

by David Henkle, P.E., Supervising Engr.; Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Las Cruces, NM,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2001, Vol. 71, Issue 7, Pg. 64-67

Document Type: Feature article


A new design system called the simplified economical bridge design (SEBD) makes steel cost-competitive with concrete for short- and medium-span bridges for the first time. In fact, a comparative analysis shows that the new system can even save as much as 10 percent versus concrete designs. The system focuses not only on reducing the steel weight required, but on reducing costly and labor-intensive field operations, as well. With the SEBD system, full-penetration welds and field splices are eliminated except where span lengths exceed the maximum length allowed for shipping or in the case of a continuity plate over the interior supports. Other benefits are simple curvature camber in lieu of reverse curvature for geometric and load configurations, all making for simplified shop drawings and faster and easier erection. Twin bridges currently under construction in Las Cruces, New Mexico, will be the first to test the new system.

Subject Headings: Steel bridges | Bridge design | Infrastructure construction | Curvature | Bridge tests | Welding | Steel

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