The Benefits of Buried Metal Bridges

Are you considering a concrete bridge or culvert? Save time and money with a Multi-plate Structural solution. Buried Metal Bridges offer many advantages over concrete structures and girder style bridges. Save time and money on all aspects of the structure: material, shipping, foundations and footings, labour and equipment and life cycle maintenance.

SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER LIFE CYCLE CARBON FOOTPRINT THAN CONCRETE BRIDGES

  • Steel is the world’s most recycled material
  • Less energy is used in the production and shipping of Buried Steel Bridges than in concrete bridges
  • Buried Steel Bridges can be built in significantly less time, reducing disruption time, detours and expediting construction schedules
  • Buried Steel Bridges require less maintenance than concrete beam bridges
  • Zinc used in galvanising is a naturally occurring material and is 100% recyclable
VIRTUALLY NO MAINTENANCE MEANING MINIMISED LIFE CYCLE COSTS

  • Eliminates recurring life cycle costs to maintain and repair bridge decks, expansion joints, bearings, girder fatigue, de-icing agent corrosion issues, concrete durability, fracture issues, approach slabs and freeze/thaw or wet/dry cycles
  • No differential settlement ‘bridge bump’ to maintain between decks and approach slabs
  • Wider spans eliminate the need for bridge piers that restrict hydraulic flow and trap debris
  • Open-bottom shapes can offer a longer design service life
  • Design service life can exceed 75 years with protective coatings
  • Structure length can be extended to accommodate future road widening; increased functional service life
SEAMLESS, WIDER AND SAFER ROAD SURFACE THAN GIRDER STYLE BRIDGES

  • Allows roadway construction to extend subgrade materials directly over buried bridge elements
  • The road section provides uniform driving lane and shoulder widths over buried bridges
  • Pavement structure is continuous and seamless
  • No bridge deck freezing issues
  • No freeze/thaw differential with roadway approaches
  • No need to narrow the roadway at the crossing
MORE FLEXIBLE AND RESILIENT THAN CONCRETE STRUCTURES OR GIRDER STYLE BRIDGES

  • Unmatched performance, especially in less-than-ideal foundation conditions
  • Settlement tolerance is much higher than in concrete structures or girder style bridges
  • Little differential movement, settlement or frost heave between the buried bridge and adjacent approach fills
  • Headwalls and wingwalls offer more resiliency in flood events
  • Geotextile Reinforced Soil (GRS) backfill technology also increases resiliency
MINIMISED SITE IMPACT

  • Usually, no invert, resulting in a longer service life
  • Minimal impact on streambeds and habitat
  • Wide-span, open-bottom designs allow for natural streambeds with excellent open-flow hydraulic and fish passage properties
  • Buried Metal Bridges will not leach harmful chemicals or compounds into the water or ground, which is often a concern with concrete structures
LIGHTWEIGHT AND EASY TO INSTALL

  • Lightweight, nestable components which are easy to ship anywhere
  • Lower structure, foundation and installation costs compared to concrete structures and girder style bridges
  • Can be constructed with local crews and equipment
  • Owners with in-house resources can complete some or all of the construction
  • Lighter-weight components eliminate the need for larger capacity (or multiple) lifting devices
  • Many applications can be built within accelerated construction timelines
IDEAL FOR ACCELERATED BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION PROGRAMMES

  • Approval drawings can be provided quickly
  • Many structures can be assembled in just a few days
  • Staged construction can avoid full road closure
LARGER, STRONGER FOR THE HEAVIEST LOADS

  • Thicker steel and larger corrugation profiles with much higher design strength
  • Product of choice for extreme loads, construction loads or repetitive overloads
  • Also shielded from dynamic load effects (wind and vehicular)
  • Wider spans, more applicable for bridge applications
  • Handles larger hydraulic flows
  • 50% thicker galvanising, adding to service life
CAN ACCEPT A RANGE OF BACK FILLS

  • The bridge structure and the backfill materials act together to support the loads
  • Ideal backfill materials are often available on or near the site at a low cost
  • If not, less-than-ideal backfill materials (including on-site materials) can often be considered
  • Use of local backfill materials yields significant cost savings and smaller carbon footprint due to reduced trucking
A PROVEN TECHNOLOGY WITH GLOBAL ACCEPTANCE

With many thousands of installations worldwide over the last 50 years, Buried Metal Bridge design and analysis continue to evolve, as their behaviour is better understood. Collaborative efforts by many academics at prominent research facilities are leading the way through advanced finite element modelling initiatives, which are validated by rigorous field and laboratory testing programs.


Since deep-corrugated structural plate solutions were introduced over 30 years ago, there has been growing global acceptance of this technology. Numerous countries have adapted their national bridge code standards and specifications to recognise and support large span Buried Metal Bridge design.

CUSTOMISED GEOMETRIES TO MEET SITE-SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS

This includes various structural plate product options, shapes, sizes and bevelled or skewed ends.


The more distance there is between the bottom of a structure and the road elevation above, the more cost-effective a buried bridge can be.


As an example, in the top illustration a 3 m (wide stream with sloped embankments passing 6 m below the proposed road elevation might require a girder style bridge with a span of 30m or more.


Alternatively, in the bottom illustration, a 14m span Buried Metal Bridge could achieve the site and hydraulic objectives with significant time and cost savings.

TYPICAL FOOTING OPTIONS
TYPICAL END TREATMENT CUSTOMISATIONS