Timber Bridge Construction FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions About Bridge Construction and Design
We’ve answered many of your most commonly asked questions here. But we’re sure you may have others. Please contact Bridge Builders’ ™ knowledgeable staff for more information, or to discuss specific details about your Timber Vehicular Bridge needs. Our timber bridge construction FAQ follows below.
Longevity & Bridge Maintenance
1. How long will a Bridge Builders’ ™ timber vehicular bridge last?
A: The life of your Bridge Builders’ ™ specific bridge depends upon various factors. However, according to the U.S. Forest Service, more than 1,000 timber vehicular bridges at least 90 years old are still in service throughout the United States. The quality and technology of pressure treatment has greatly increased in the last 90 years. So you can expect that a bridge built today would last even longer. Our superior materials, expert craftsmanship, advanced construction techniques and proper design all work together to increase the longevity of your Bridge Builders’ ™ timber vehicular bridge.
2. Will the buried portions of the abutments and piling begin to disintegrate over time?
A: The timber we use has been specially pressure treated so that it can withstand burial for many years. In fact, government tests have proven that pressure-treated test stakes have never failed in over 20 years of in-ground testing.
3. What kind of maintenance is required on a Bridge Builders’ ™ timber vehicular bridge?
A: Your Bridge Builders’ ™ timber vehicular bridge requires little maintenance and no painting. Bridge Builders ™ minimizes bridge maintenance requirements by choosing the proper materials and appropriate pressure treated timber for your specific crossing. In addition, our attention to detail in the design and construction of the bridge, combined with more than 25 years of experience, ensures that your well-built, easily maintained bridge can last a lifetime.
4. Can a Bridge Builders’ ™ timber vehicular bridge withstand the heavy, continuous traffic in my community?
A: Bridge Builders’ ™ timber vehicular bridges are built to meet or exceed AASHTO standards of HS20-44, the most commonly accepted standard for highway safety today, and HL-93 standards and greater when required. This latter designation ensures that Bridge Builders’ ™ timber vehicular bridges are suitable for continuous traffic of 3-4 axle vehicles.
Bridge Construction Methods
5. Can Bridge Builders ™ pre-fabricate and deliver a timber vehicular bridge to my site?
A: Yes! Depending on your site requirements Bridge Builders ™ can pre-fabricate your timber vehicular bridges, delivered to your site for assembly by one of our professional construction crews.
6. How long will it take to build my bridge?
A: Each project is unique. However, Bridge Builders’ ™ flexible scheduling, in-house design team and in-house construction crews work together to get your project designed, scheduled, and constructed in the shortest amount of time possible.
A typical low-profile, 300′ long timber vehicular bridge, with custom guide rails, can be completed in under 60 days. Every site is different. Every bridge is different. In general, our process of design, materials procurement and construction can be faster than bridges made with concrete or steel.
It takes great coordination between all stakeholders, so at the beginning of our relationship we will usually “ballpark” a timeframe. As the project moves forward, we will confirm the date.
7. Can Bridge Builders ™ design a curve in a timber vehicular bridge?
A: Yes. Our technically advanced green construction methods enable our bridges to roll, bend, turn and accommodate EPA, aesthetic and topographical dictates in environmentally sensitive areas. See our Vehicular Bridge Photo Gallery for some beautiful examples.
8. Because of permitting regulations, I can’t drive piling in a protected area. How can a bridge cross it?
A: Bridge Builders ™ has many years of experience in just this type of situation. Our design team can choose from various span types which will be customized specifically for your project and crossing needs. In general, free-span designs are used for shorter distances, while a combination span (a combination of free-span and pile supported sections in the non-protected area) are usually used for larger, longer crossings, and are a more economical choice.
Our sales professionals are truly experts at guiding you towards the right type of timber bridge for your need. Please contact Bridge Builders ™ for more detailed information.
9. How long can a timber vehicular bridge be?
A: Bridge Builders’ ™ timber vehicular bridges can be built to virtually any length and still maintain their structural integrity.
10. What kind of permits are required to build timber vehicular bridges? Can Bridge Builders ™ help with the permitting process?
A: Permitting requirements vary greatly. A call to your local municipality will help you determine if a permit is required, and what the process will be. Bridge Builders ™ can assist you by providing necessary documentation regarding the bridge to the permitting agency. This includes full engineered design plans, material certificates, and examples of work for your bridge permit.
11. Can a timber vehicular bridge carry utilities?
A: Yes. We can design the bridge to accommodate the utilities and usually even conceal the unsightly pipes or wires. Our design team will factor in the weight of the utilities when calculating dead-load impact.
12. I need a bridge with a pedestrian walkway. Is the treatment on the wood safe for this type of application?
A: Definitely! All wood treatments typically used by Bridge Builders ™ are EPA- approved for your specific application, including ACQ and CCA treated timber. At your request, Bridge Builders ™ can also use other materials in construction such as tropical hardwoods, composite decking material, or 100% recycled plastic lumber for decking & handrails.
13. Isn’t building wooden bridges harmful to the environment?
A: From Bridge Builders’ ™ very beginning more than 25 years ago, we were sensitive to the fact that we were building structures to carry vehicles and people through wetlands and very special habitats. It was clear to us that wood was the ecologically sensitive material to use for green bridge construction.
Wood is the only renewable building material, as it is reusable, recyclable and biodegradable, requiring less water and energy during construction, and leaving much less solid waste behind to be disposed of.
Bridge Builders ™ pioneered the concept of top – down construction, an accelerated construction method whereby we can build bridges in wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas with minimal impact to the environment. The result: our bridges fit beautifully in their natural settings and are installed in a manner which helps preserve some of our nation’s prime environmentally sensitive areas and wetlands. Visit our Why Use Timber? page for more research about wood – our nation’s renewable building material.
I first worked with Bridge Builders in 1990 at the Cypress Golf Club Project in Los Alamitos, California. Their performance was exemplary and good memories seem to last in this business.
Sixteen years later, I found myself in need of bridges once again. What a relief to be able to call the same phone number and talk to Tim Kris. I thought that our design-build project here at Brightwater Club would be a perfect match for their product. The process was truly seamless after our initial conversation. Design work, budgeting and scheduling all went well. The crew was right on time and the three bridges were built from start to finish in less than two weeks. Jim Collins and his crew were incredible.