Bridge construction has been improved tremendously with the advancement in science and technology. Better and lighter materials are now available that can endure greater loads. The construction is now much faster due to the introduction of a variety of heavy construction equipment.
Bridge Construction Planning
Bridge construction tends to involve huge projects that encompass the utilization of skills related to several engineering disciplines including geology, civil, electrical, mechanical, and computer sciences. Therefore, integrating the efforts of all involved must be meticulous. The initial plans are prepared regarding the project, including the characteristics of the desired bridge, the site details, and the requirement of resources. The bridge design will be determined by the type of bridge being constructed. The main types of the bridges are beam, arch, truss, cantilever, and suspension. The beam bridge is one of the popular types. Bridges can also be categorized by the planned use, like road and rail bridge, pedestrian pavement, material to be used like steel or concrete, and fixed or moveable. Moveable bridges are constructed when the ship height may be more than the bridge floor. In such situations, the road has the capability to be lifted or pivoted, to permit marine traffic movement under it.
Construction of the foundations is the first step toward building a bridge. This process involves detailed geotechnical investigations of the bridge site. The type of bridge foundation has to be selected, such as the well foundation, pile foundation, and the opened foundation. Each foundation is suitable for specific soil strata, and the desired bridge characteristics. The soil characteristics will determine the load bearing capacity, and other important parameters. The superstructure is basically designed in accordance with the technical requirements, aesthetic reasons, and the construction methodology. Excavation required for the foundations may need to be executed to sizeable depths, involving hard ground, before the solid rocks are reached. Engineering feats will be involved to avoid water, and prevent collapse of the diggings. Tunnels specifically may be subjected to sudden failures.
Bridge Construction Equipment
Heavy equipment will be used extensively during the bridge construction including bulldozers, excavators, asphalt mixers, formworks, and fabrication equipment. The construction and other equipment needs to be identified thoroughly, according to their capability and other desired functions. The foundation and the superstructure design will need to be considered. This expensive equipment should not remain idle, and must be used cautiously to obtain optimum advantage.