Galvanized steel has many applications in the industrial world, from refrigerators to skyscrapers. But is it a feasible solution for large, public construction projects like bridges?
The hot-dip process required for galvanized steel banding may, at first, seem like an impediment for large-scale bridge builders, but in fact, this one extra step can help your bridge last longer, look better, and cost less taxpayer money in the long run. Here are just three of the benefits you can expect by galvanizing a steel bridge from the start.
Galvanized steel is a lighter-weight construction material than concrete, which makes it ideal for long-spanning bridges. Additionally, the production process has significantly improved over time. When the Golden Gate bridge was built in the 1930s, it used 83,000 tons of steel. Today, that same project would require only half the amount. Steel’s high strength-to-weight ratio makes it one of the most trusted bridge-building materials in the world.
Because of improvements in production techniques, the cost of using galvanized steel for bridge construction has also decreased over time. The amount of energy required to produce one ton of steel, for instance, has decreased by 34% since 1972.The galvanizing process additionally helps prevent corrosion in a much more affordable way than stainless steel, which means that the bridge will last longer with less maintenance. In fact, some experts estimate that, had the steel used for the Golden Gate Bridge been galvanized in the first place, it would have saved $319 million in maintenance costs to date!
Steel construction is more flexible than other building tools, meaning that a bridge is more resistant to seismic activity. Bridges made of steel are also easier to inspect for safety than concrete. And while galvanized steel has always been extraordinarily resilient against weather conditions, metals are now 30% stronger and more dent-resistant than they were even 10 years ago.
When it comes time to make decisions about building materials for government-funded projects (like bridges), safety, longevity, and cost efficiency should be three of the highest priorities. Working with galvanized steel parts from the beginning will help ensure that all bridges can be enjoyed for years to come without the worry of rust, repainting, safety closures, providing the peace of mind that comes from knowing that every tax dollar has been spent smartly.