New Bridge Building Technique Cuts Time and Costs

If you’ve ever tried to drive “up north” in Michigan during any one of the peak seasons (summer, hunting, snowmobile) you’ve no doubt encountered construction delays. With a constant need to maintain and upgrade, and little to no improvements made in time-to-completion and cutting overall costs, finally someone has challenged the status quo in the construction world.

Enter the ABC (Accelerated Bridge Construction) technique. It takes standard bridge building and flips it on its head. Costs, time and traffic delays/closures are now at a bare minimum. No longer are temporary bridges required, or years and millions of dollars needed. The idea is quite simple: Build the replacement bridge next to the old one, when it’s complete, demolition the old bridge, and slide the new one into place. Sounds a bit over-simplified? Check out this video of a replacement being made in 18 hours, in the pouring rain!

The concept of working smarter, not harder is apparently gaining traction in the Department of Transportation (DOT) and we, the daily commuters, are reaping the benefits. Sometimes it takes not just a new technology, but a new approach to problem solving to get the “best of both worlds.”

Last year in the state of New York, a section of the I-84 highway needed some bridge improvements. Instead of implementing the old-school techniques, the NYDOT decided to try Accelerated Bridge Construction. This resulted in faster completion time, no need to build a temporary bridge (est. at $2 million), and had less impact on daily commuters.

With new technologies emerging every day that make so many tasks easier, some industries appear to almost refuse new tech updates. This is one example where benefits are shared by all and those benefits equal less time in construction traffic for us all.