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Myths and Realities Report on Steel Bridges Now Available
Posted by Geoff Weisenberger on March 31, 2008 at 3:25 PM.

Did you know that modular prefabricated short-span steel bridges can be permanent structures? Or that bridge joints are not a prerequisite for steel bridges? Or that advanced, high-performance, EPA-approved steel bridge coatings can last more than 25 years? These topics and others are highlighted in a new free publication, Steel Bridge Construction: Myths and Realities, an updated, fact-based publication that addresses a wide range of topics about steel bridges.


Made available through a joint effort between AISC, the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA), and the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the 25-page document compiles and corrects top myths and misperceptions about the viability of steel in bridge design and construction for a wide range of bridge types.


The report references expert articles and studies from organizations such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), as well as the Strategic Highway Research Program, professional associations, industry analysts, and academia.


One such reference refutes the perception that the life expectancy of a steel bridge is shorter than alternative materials. In fact, a 1992 study by Lehigh University analyzed the deterioration rates of the 577,000 bridges listed in the FHWA National Bridge Inventory and concluded that superstructure material type—steel, concrete, or other—was not an indicator of a bridge’s life expectancy. Instead, life expectancy is strongly dependent on a bridge’s age and average daily traffic.


The report also includes myth-busting analysis about topics such as the reality of maintenance-free bridges (regardless of material), cost competitiveness of simple-span bridges less than 140 ft in length, the viability of weathering steel, the value of jointless bridge decks, and the availability of simple, more economical bridge bearings.


To download a free PDF version of Steel Bridge Construction: Myths and Realities, visit AISI’s web site at
To order printed copies of the report, visit and click “Shop AISI”—or call 202.752.7100 and ask for item #D432-07. Or, you can communicate your request via e-mail:


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