Steel in bridge construction in Australia has declined significantly over the last 30 to 40 years from around 25% of bridges to as low as 5% of bridges in recent years. The main reasons for this have been the proliferation of precast prestressed concrete girder systems with the development of the Super-T girder in the early 1990’s being the most notable, and the higher
ongoing cost of steel bridges due to maintenance of their corrosion protection coatings.
Steel bridges are typically only used now on road and rail bridges where site constraints on the handling of precast concrete girders prohibit their use.
BlueScope has recently commenced production of REDCOR™ weathering steel in larger plate sizes and is continually investigating options based on market requirements. The enhanced corrosion resistance of REDCOR™ weathering steel means that these steels can be used without the need for expensive paint coatings. Reducing the need for paint coatings can significantly
lower both the initial fabrication costs and ongoing maintenance costs . This coupled with competitive steel pricing and production warrants a relook at the use of steel in our bridges.
The presentation will cover the metallurgy of weathering steel, the history of its use in bridges around the world, the considerations and constraints for its use in Australian bridges and the bridge forms where its use is considered advantageous over current bridge construction forms. This still lies with bridge sites where there are access constraints, but the range of suitable sites for steel construction is far greater when the cost of coating and recoating the steel work is removed through the use of weathering steel. The presentation will include case studies of recent bridge designs using weathering steel.
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