Precast Concrete Bridge Construction

By October 13, 2020 No Comments
Close-up of concrete to illustrate precast concrete bridge construction

Although precast concrete is more common with buried infrastructure, it is also commonplace for above ground applications. When a new business park or warehouse is being constructed, concrete panels are used to accelerate the build, often with a much smaller construction crew. Another standard use is for precast concrete bridge construction, pedestrian bridges, and other forms of crossings. Whether a bridge is needed to cross a drainage ditch on agricultural land or to complete a road over a stream or gully, precast bridges are fast, long-lasting solutions.

Types Of Precast Bridges

The most common precast concrete bridge is a 3-sided bridge or split box culvert. Once the site has been prepared and the footing is in place, the bridge can be installed. They can be made up to 10 feet high and span 12 feet or longer. A split box culvert allows for optimal installation should stream restoration be required. The 3 sided bridge units are installed “leg up” to create a precast trench that can be filled with the native materials required to restore the stream bed. Cap it off with a precast top slab or “leg down” 3-sided bridge and construction is complete.

If the road isn’t perpendicular to the river, skewed 3-sided bridges are used. Engineered with the same strength of a traditional 3-sided bridge, skewed bridges can cover an angle of up to 45 degrees in 5-degree increments. The precast deck can be from 10 to 18 inches thick.

For larger bridges, precast components are still used to help accelerate the bridge-building process. In high traffic areas, such as a highway, this will keep you on schedule. It can also limit disruptions to the morning or evening commutes.

For example, instead of delivering concrete via mixing truck after mixing truck for a pour in place column, precast columns can be delivered in a single trip. Once the footings are in place, the columns can be installed and the bridge deck can be placed.

Advantages of Using Precast Concrete

The ease and speed of installation are obviously much faster than pour-in-place concrete or using other materials to create road crossings. Accelerated construction time means the project stays on schedule at a reduced cost to the contractor. And, of course, passing motorists will appreciate the minimized lane closures, too.

But more than that, precast concrete may be able to help secure a bid for your company. The Pacific Northwest is known for its natural beauty and the steps we take to keep it that way. In fact, jurisdictions throughout Washington and Oregon require eco-friendly gestures when opening a request for proposal.

Precast concrete fits the bill in many situations. It’s longevity, use of all-natural and raw materials and chemical inertness make it one of the most sustainable building materials available. Made to last a century with little to no maintenance makes precast concrete bridges an attractive choice.

Because precast bridge and box culvert components are made in a controlled environment, they can be quality controlled every step of the way. They can also be ready to go when you are, created well before you need them. You won’t need to wait for forms to be built, concrete to be poured, or time to strengthen.

Work With The Precast Experts

We have more than 150 years of precasting experience in management and on the floor. Columbia Precast provides unsurpassed quality and strength with all of our products. In addition to standard structures as manholes, 3-sided bridges, and catch basins, we’re adept at custom pieces, too.

Our engineers are some of the best in the business. We’ve worked extensively with both the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation. And we were the first buried infrastructure plant in the U.S. to earn SMaRT Certification. If you need precast concrete bridge construction or bridge components, reach out to Columbia Precast to see how we can help.