The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is developing innovative solutions to create bridges that can save 40 percent of the cost compared to conventional construction methods. In the first section of this five-part article, we covered the basics of the accelerated bridge construction (ABC) process. In this section, we will focus on a few of the most popular ABC technologies being utilized in the industry today.
Although recent tragic news about the Miami bridge collapse has put the ABC process into question, if appropriately applied, it may be the solution the construction industry needs to create new bridges. If you are in need of the legal counsel of a Boca Raton construction lawyer, please give us a call today.
Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge System (GRS-IBS)
For smaller bridges that stretch across streams or rivers, GRS-IBS is the technology that can install a bridge quickly and save project costs up to 60 percent over conventional methods. As the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) describes the process, GRS-IBS is created by “alternating layers of engineered backfill with sheets of geosynthetic reinforcement.” In more broad terms, this means that the bridge is created by “reinforcing soil with organic materials.” GRS-IBS bridges are easily adaptable to different types of environments and can be established even in areas that have standing water or substandard soil conditions. The technology also conveniently requires only local, easily accessible materials to be used in the construction process as well.
Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems (PBES)
PBES technology can erect a bridge in three easy steps. The structural sections of the bridge are built remotely in a climate controlled environment and then transferred onto location and the sections are then constructed together. This process of installing the materials can often be accomplished in a day or two. Because the structure is built remotely, the best quality materials can be produced in an environment that is away from the natural elements as well.
Slide-In Bridge Construction (SIBC)
A similar technique to PBES is known as slide-in bridge construction (SIBC). Utilizing this technology, the new bridge can be constructed next to the existing, deteriorating bridge. After the new bridge is completed and residing on temporary supports, the existing bridge is demolished and the new bridge “slides-in” the position of where the old bridge was and is then paved into place.
As we will discuss more in sections three and four, properly implemented ABC technology provides many benefits to the construction industry and the general public. As we will discuss in the final section, the process needs to be closely evaluated in the short-term until it is perfected.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.