Prefabricated bridges (or precast bridges) are a fast-growing part of the construction industry, becoming more popular worldwide as a quick and economical solution to the typical problems of bridge construction.
In this blog, we will go into detail about the process and benefits of prefabricated bridges, as well as the future of the technology.
What Is A Prefabricated Bridge?
Prefabricated bridges are basically bridges that have their components constructed off-site, then brought to their location for installation. This is one method of accelerated bridge construction, a beneficial form of construction used worldwide.
Prefabricated bridges can come in many sizes and be applied to any number of applications. While Slaton Bros. specializes in small to medium-sized bridge applications, prefabricated bridges are commonly used for large-scale bridge systems like major highways.
Prefab vs. On-Site Construction: Pros For Prehab
Over the years, prefabricated bridges have continued to improve, leading to a number of benefits that impact all facets of the construction process. A few of the main benefits associated with prefabricated bridges include the following:
Time – One of the most prominent differences between prefabricated and on-site bridge construction is time. Prefabricated bridges offer an incredibly quick assembly rate compared to on-site construction, which can confer benefits in a number of ways.
Less susceptible to weather delays – Since elements of a prefabricated bridge are made off-site, the installation process is much shorter, reducing the chance of being delayed by weather in the process.
Quality control – Prefabricated bridges yield benefits since their elements are made in a factory, which means quality control can be more consistent on average than what one might expect on-site.
Energy-efficiency and eco-friendliness – On-site constructed bridges typically have sizable amounts of waste since methods used to create them rely on extra materials. Prefabricated bridges do not suffer from this issue, as any excess in construction can easily be recycled into future projects.
Financial Benefits – One of the biggest benefits of prefabricated bridges is the financial benefits of the practice. Contrary to popular belief, custom-built pieces actually can be more beneficial financially than their on-site counterparts.
Safety – The construction process for prefabricated bridges is also safer than on-site. This is because there are fewer risks in an indoor, controlled construction environment than in an outdoor, potentially busy area. Outdoor sites are subject to changing weather, changing soil conditions, and potential hazards from other people.
Are There Downsides To Prefab Bridges?
When installed by a competent, experienced team, prefabricated bridges typically outshine on-site bridge construction in nearly every meaningful category. This is doubly so for small to medium-sized prefabricated bridges like the type constructed by Reinforced Earth and installed by Slaton Bros. These bridges are purpose-built to tackle the downsides associated with on-site bridge construction.
When To Consider Prefabricated Bridges
Quite frankly, prefabricated bridges are almost always a good idea over more conventional bridges. As stated earlier, these types of bridges confer benefits in nearly every category when juxtaposed with on-site bridge construction. No matter what you are looking for, a prefabricated bridge may be the optimal option for you.
TechSpan® Precast Bridges are optimal for:
- Above ground earth shelters
- Short to medium span bridges
- Tunnels for roadway, railway, pedestrian, and mining site reclaim or access
- Ammunition storage facilities
Our TechSpan® System In More Detail
The TechSpan® system is a buried precast concrete arch used in a variety of arch profiles and applications. The system is a product of our sister company Reinforced Earth and is a three-hinged precast concrete system that utilizes half arch units that meet at the crown. Arch profiles can extend over 30’ in length and over 20’ in height, allowing them to be used in many ways.
The system is created using a sophisticated analysis process called Finite Element Method (FEM) designed to verify the loads on the arches at each step of the construction process. This ensures that each element is constructed precisely to our standards and will perform as such.
Other Uses For Our TechSpan Precast Arches
Our TechSpan® Precast Arches are most often used for bridges but are useful in a number of other applications as well. Especially in defense applications, this system provides a wealth of highly refined features and benefits. Our system has been used to construct some of the following infrastructures:
- Storage bunkers
- Hardened aircraft shelters
- Ammunition igloos
- Weapons testing facilities
While Slaton Bros, Inc. most often provides services with this TechSpan® arch technology for commercial applications, the technology has proven itself in commercial and military applications.
Choose Slaton Bros., Inc for Prefab Bridges!
Prefabricated bridges have taken the world of construction by storm, and for good reason. If your area is in need of prefabricated bridges for vehicles, pedestrians, or wildlife, our team here at Slaton Bros, Inc. would be happy to help. Give us a call today to receive more information!