New bridge builds are always complex. Between materials procurement, resource management, and the inevitable public inconvenience, there are a lot of components involved in building a new bridge whether it’s a 20-foot pedestrian span or a half-mile-long vehicular overpass.
How does utilities design factor into the process? At Aptus, we have years of experience designing bridge piping for utilities like water, sewer, and telecommunications cabling. Here are what we’ve learned are the four factors that ultimately steer the direction of design.
Factor #1: Materials
Deciding which materials to use for a bridge piping project is perhaps the most important consideration of the design process. Materials, from copper to composites, play a huge role in the ultimate success of the design and on how well the piping will perform. A few subfactors to consider when weighing different materials include code, conditions, and cost. Code regulations, for example, might dictate that a certain metal may not be used within a protected area. Likewise, the location of a bridge over a high-salinity body of water might necessitate the selection of a particularly non-corrosive material.
Factor #2: Location
Where a bridge is located will ultimately determine which utilities can be installed (and how.) Bridges situated over water tend to face a lot of elemental adversity like wind, humidity, salinity, and even wildlife. How a bridge is situated relative to the land around it will play a huge role in how bridge piping is best designed to suit it.
Factor #3: Cost
Budget is always a critical factor for bridge piping design. Although public- and privately-funded bridges are budgeted for very differently, both present challenges when it comes to marrying good design with budget adherence. In some cases, utility design and installation are rolled into the overall cost of building the bridge; in other cases, they are not. Understanding which materials and labor will fit into a client’s budget is one of the primary jobs of an experienced bridge utilities project manager.
Factor #4: Access
Access determines design, every time. Bridge utility projects are often designed after the bridge itself has been completed, or at least during the final stages of the build. Access to hang points on the bridge – the deck, the underdeck, the run lines, etc. – is critical to understanding exactly how utilities should be installed. Easy access isn’t just important for the duration of the installation project but also for completing necessary maintenance to the utilities down the road.
Aptus is an industry leader in bridge piping design. Our teams have decades of experience designing, installing, and maintaining bridge attached utilities and they have worked in almost every state in the country.
Would you like to find out how Aptus can make your build a smoother process? Reach out today to talk to a regional Aptus team member near you.