Accelerated Bridge Construction with Time-Proven Technology

Aluminum Bridge Decking Provides New Solution for Industrial Flooring

Ann Arbor, MI, March 2019 – AlumaBridge Aluminum Decking isn’t just for vehicular bridges. It’s the perfect replacement for deteriorating factory floors and new industrial applications that require very high load capacities. AlumaBridge Factory Floor Panels are lightweight, prefabricated, and modular for easy installation. Corrosion resistant aluminum reduces maintenance and is 100% recyclable. Skid resistant coatings are also available.

“We recognized the attributes of AlumaBridge decking also deliver an excellent flooring solution for factories, warehouses and other industrial applications,” says Greg Osberg, AlumaBridge President & CEO, “while providing a safe, sustainable and economical alternative to steel, concrete and wood.”

Recently, AlumaBridge supplied panels to a large manufacturer that needed an elevated floor capable of supporting forklifts with each tire exerting a load of 35 kips. The existing floor was positioned above a number of levels consisting of mezzanines, walkways and mechanicals that support manufacturing. Welded steel plates served as the riding surface for forklift traffic. Forklift loads caused some welded plates to crack and buckle, requiring repair of the floor surface as well as repair to damaged forklift tires and undercarriages. AlumaBridge Factory Flooring panels can solve these types of problems with a minimum of downtime and loss of productivity. Moving forward, the AlumaBridge solution provides a smooth safe riding surface that will not crack or buckle, thus reducing future maintenance.

AlumaBridge has also supplied prefabricated panels for a nuclear power plant application where load capacity is also key. In this case, large panel assemblies must be periodically removed to perform maintenance on critical systems below. To improve this process, replacement of heavier decking with lightweight AlumaBridge decking will make handling more efficient, thereby reducing downtime and improving productivity for every future cycle of maintenance.

Factory Flooring

Moffat County, CO
– AlumaBridge Aluminum Decking and support beams have been installed on the Browns Park Bridge. The project presented unique challenges in that the bridge is a swinging bridge spanning a lengthy 320 feet. As with most bridge rehabilitations, deck weight is critical. AlumaBridge lightweight decking was ideal for this bridge application. Compared to the original timber decking, the AlumaBridge deck system also offers a solid skid-resistant riding surface.

Reconstruction of this historic bridge with an all-aluminum superstructure has provided vast performance improvements. Structural capacity more than quadrupled, from a 3-ton limit to 14 tons, which improved access across the bridge for firefighters, sportsmen, farmers, and other private business entities previously unable to use the swinging bridge.

Lightweight modular components also greatly facilitated construction over the Green River. The contractor was able to implement cost effective delivery methods to efficiently install the components. The erection equipment consisted of hand operated trolleys and a simple overhead crane rail. Overall, the consistency and predictability of deck panel dimensions exceed the Owners’ expectations.

AFTER – New AlumaBridge deck system spanning 320 ft over the Green River
AFTER – New AlumaBridge deck system spanning 320 ft over the Green River.

AlumaBridge deck system with skid-resistant riding surface. AlumaBridge deck system with skid-resistant riding surface.
AlumaBridge deck system with skid-resistant riding surface. AlumaBridge deck system with skid-resistant riding surface. Installation of new decking using overhead trolley system.

The Florida DOT has successfully completed testing of AlumaBridge Aluminum Decking. The evaluation included detailed inspection, structural testing, heavy vehicle simulation, and wearing surface tests. Lightweight aluminum deck panels were subjected to 600,000 passes using the heavy vehicle simulator at the FDOT State Materials Office. According to the final report, the weld detail for the test specimen can be considered to be within the infinite fatigue life stress limit.

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AluminaBridge Completes Fabrication of Aluminum Bridge Deck Ministry of Transportantion - Quebec

Ann Arbor, MI - AlumaBridge, LLC of Ann Arbor, MI has completed the successful fabrication of an aluminum bridge deck for the St. Ambroise River Bridge in Quebec, Canada. Two large panels, each measuring 32.9’ (10040 mm) x 12.3’ (3750 mm) x 8.0” (203.2 mm) deep, were required. The deck was shipped on December 10, 2014. The panels have been received, inspected and approved by the bridge owner, Ministry of Transportation – Quebec.

The project resulted in a number of fabrication advancements due to a unique set of specifications that had to be met. For example, AlumaBridge devised a way to attach the panels to galvanized steel girders without bolting the deck to the beams. This was accomplished by steel clamps (angles) that will be attached to the underside of the deck, but wedge on either side of the girder’s top flanges.

During preliminary design, AlumaBridge had to work with the existing girder spacing. This meant bridge engineers had to design unique aluminum extrusions to achieve the proper deck width. The design process also needed to consider clearances for fasteners between structural web members within the extruded aluminum profile. In addition, the curb sides of the deck had to provide a closure and structural support for the deck-mounted crash barrier. Therefore, the deck could not be trimmed to meet the required bridge width. To solve this problem, AlumaBridge designed a structural end extrusion that can be trimmed to provide deck panel width adjustability. The end extrusion was also designed to accommodate a deck-mounted crash barrier as well as a closure needed along the edges of the deck. Additionally, a special extrusion was introduced that is half the width of the base extrusion profile of 12.0” (304.8 mm). This extrusion made it possible to build the panel to the required width.

A design breakthrough was achieved with a splice joint that accelerates bridge construction and reduces the number of fasteners required. It was also important to create a positive connection at the bottom of the splice joint between panels where it rests on top of the girder. As noted above, the deck panels cannot be bolted to the beams, but each panel must be fastened together. The top flanges of the splice nest together with an overlapping flange and recess. The splice joint is fastened together by a single row of blind fasteners that are flush with the deck surface and utilize countersunk holes along the length of the splice. This splice joint design cuts the typical number of bolts in half and accelerates installation. At the bottom of the splice joint, a tongue and groove is incorporated into the extrusion profile for a positive connection.

At the abutments, the deck is sealed with a 0.79” (20 mm) one-piece closure plate that is mechanically fastened and runs the full width of the deck. Holes in the plate are predrilled at the factory as well as matching holes that are tapped in the deck for quick field installation.

Controlling weld shrinkage and holding tolerances on such large panels were critical. The top flange of each extruded aluminum profile is 0.850” (2.16 mm), while the lower flange is 0.350” (8.9 mm). Each panel incorporated four unique extrusion profiles – base, half, splice, and end extrusions. The range of extrusions required, together with two very different flange thicknesses, added to the complexity of friction stir welding utilized by AlumaBridge.

Previous aluminum bridge decks were fabricated with gas metal arc welding or earlier versions of friction stir welding. By contrast, AlumaBridge was able to deliver the St. Ambroise River Bridge deck with fully consolidated welds that achieve superior dimensional characteristics across the entire 32.9’ (10040 mm) x 24.6’ (7500 mm) deck assembly:
– Flatness Average: 0.37” (9.4 mm)
– Straightness: 0.21” (5.4 mm)
– Squareness: 0.167” (4.2 mm)
– Width: 0.125” (3.2 mm)

Satisfying the unique and challenging set of specifications from the Ministry of Transportation – Quebec made the fabrication of the St. Ambroise River Bridge a breakthrough achievement in the industry. AlumaBridge innovation met the specifications with a commitment to advancing and scaling aluminum bridge deck technology. AlumaBridge is providing new solutions for bridge owners to address accelerated bridge construction and rehabilitation.

The L. B. Foster Company is the North American distributor for AlumaBridge products. This NASDAQ company, founded in 1902, supplies fabricated bridge products and other infrastructure products worldwide.

AlumaBridge has fabricated and shipped 5" deep aluminum bridge decking to the Florida Department of Transportation.

The new 5" deep bridge deck system is designed to replace steel open grid. Corrosion resistant decking from AlumaBridge offers a solid riding surface and the preferred weight neutral solution to replace steel grid decks on moveable and fixed-span bridges.

FDOT aluminum bridge deck research will be presented by George Patton, PE of Hardesty & Hanover at the AASHTO Annual Bridge Meeting on April 20, 2015 in Saratoga Springs, NY.  The presentation is part of the T-8 Movable Bridges Technical Committee Meeting beginning at 8 a.m. in the Saratoga Hilton Hotel – Broadway Conference Rooms 1 & 2.

Aluminum Bridge Deck Design Solutions to Meet Current Challenges Faced by State DOT’s

Aluminum Bridge Deck Design Solutions
Sandisfield, MA — An aluminum bridge deck installed in 30 minutes recently in Massachusetts by AlumaBridge LLC may herald a solution for many of the country’s estimated 130,000 bridges in dire need of repair.

Using advanced technology to manufacture lightweight aluminum structures – that are then lifted into place by crane – transportation officials in Massachusetts replaced a 1950 bridge with a lighter and quicker-to-install substitute.

“The Accelerated Bridge Construction technology that is available today could signal a solution to the nation’s many aging bridges,” said Greg Osberg, president and CEO of AlumaBridge, LLC. “AlumaBridge aluminum bridge decking provides transportation officials with a rapid bridge rehabilitation tool that is more efficient and sustainable. Aluminum extrusion – which allows for large pieces of lightweight aluminum to be manufactured as prefabricated deck panels – offers a faster and more cost-effective solution.”

To replace the bridge in Sandisfield, MA, AlumaBridge created a lightweight aluminum deck that was pre-attached to the steel superstructure and lifted into place by crane in one piece. The use of prefabricated panels, which are one-fifth the weight of concrete, dramatically reduced the dead load, or overall weight of the structure, enabling the installation to be completed in record time.

A time-elapsed video capturing the installation process is available here.

A bridge is classified as “fracture critical” if it has at least one supporting element whose failure would result in the collapse of the bridge. More than 60,000 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient and another 70,000 are functionally obsolete, representing an urgent need for repairs on a massive scale.

AlumaBidge’s Aluminum Bridge DeckingAlumaBidge’s Aluminum Bridge Decking provides state DOT’s, toll authorities, counties and municipalities with a new solution to address structural deficiencies. Previously, the only alternative for many deficient bridges was total reconstruction.

Aluminum decking is about 75 percent more lightweight and sustainable than decking with steel and concrete. Unlike temporary bridges, once an aluminum deck is in place, it serves as a permanent structure. For older bridges, the use of aluminum decking permits roadways to be widened since the materials weigh less.

The Sandisfield bridge is an excellent example of the many benefits of aluminum bridge decking.