How to Build a Bridge

Anyone who decides to build a bridge should know the process is long and complex. However, the proceeding information will reveal the steps necessary for such an undertaking.

Required Tools and Materials

Steel, wood, mortar or other building material
Heavy machinery and equipment
Concrete

Obtain the Necessary Permits

Even if you’re just making a small wooden bridge, it’s a good idea to ask the local government units for permission. This way you can also learn the safety standards required. If you’re going to make a steel bridge that spans several miles, a permit is certainly needed. Get the paperwork finished before you start to build a bridge.

Choose the Location and Bridge Type

A beam bridge is usually used for covering small distances and is made of wood. Bridges made over cliffs are modeled after the arch type. For city to city or island to island, suspension bridges are the norm.

However there are other types like cantilever bridges, truss bridges etc. Next, the site will be surveyed by engineers. Their job is to look for any potential problems at the site. They will also determine if the site can support the structure.

Design and Cost

Aside from your blueprint, computer aided design (CAD) will be used to conceptualize the structure. Modifications may be made here, depending on the situation. Usually the financial cost is computed at this point too. The amount of materials, heavy equipment and personnel needed should be evaluated as well.

Preparing the Foundation

The next step to build a bridge is to lay the foundation. Excavators and bulldozers will prepare the site. After digging at the right depth, the concrete will be added. Depending on the bridge type, rocks, stones or gravel may be added as well. When the mix has solidified, the supporting structures will be installed.

Assembling the Bridge

Bridges may be constructed in two ways. The first is to make the individual components on site. The alternative method is to create the individual parts elsewhere and ship them on site.

When the pieces are ready, they are hoisted up by cranes or anchors. The deck is the last component added. Decks can be made of concrete or mixed compounds.

Paving the Bridge

Paving is the final step to build a bridge. This task is performed by various types of heavy machinery. There are professional services that can do this. Depending on your location, the local public works department may help you with this task too. The duration of this task will depend on the dimensions of the bridge.

Tips and Warnings

Whether you’re making a small or large bridge, safety is of paramount importance. As for expenses, it’s always a good idea to overestimate the costs. It’s also prudent to purchase 5 to 10% more than the needed materials. For smaller bridges, heavy equipment may not be needed.

If you are going to build a bridge, it’s important to invest time in planning. Whether the bridge is large or small, careful assessment is necessary.

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