The Characteristics Of A Sustainable Bridge Construction Essay

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The aging and deterioration of bridges and the new requirements for sustainable infrastructures and communities require innovative approaches for their management that can achieve an adequate balance between social, economic, environmental, and Technological sustainability. This thesis presents the standard criteria which can make a sustainable bridge in the construction industry, which can consider several and conflicting objectives, such as the common standards for a sustainable structure, the strategies to achieve sustainable bridge design, and standard criteria for sustainable bridges.


Background of the study:

Bridge all over the world because of maturing and corrosion are facing the task of long-term and costly maintenance with inadequate funds. As it can be observed as they are critical links in the transportation networks that play an important role to support environmental, social, economic development. Furthermore in the planning stage, before design phase, there should be appropriate criteria to select the best characteristics for designing, constructing, maintenance, and demolition of the bridge.

To approach sustainable bridge management, all aspects of the social, environment, economic, and technological should be used as the drivers for asset management at all levels of decision-making. According to , the multi-objective optimization is the actual bridge management problems.

According to , the sustainable development defined as a 'development that meets the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.'

The past few years have seen increasing technological advance in Sustainability. Furthermore the Native Americans defined that "we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."

The need for increasingly more sustainable infrastructure is growing . "American's transportation system has served the US well, but now faces the challenges of congestion, energy supply, environmental impacts, climate change, and sprawl that threatens to undermine the economic, social, and environmental future of the nation." (AASHTO 2009).

In a challenging issue, a new design framework for the design of sustainable infrastructure systems has been developed. This paradigm integrates materials science and structural engineering with overall system design to meet targets of sustainable infrastructure performance measured through sustainability indicators such as global warming potential, total energy consumption, acidification potential, or total material consumption .

The indicates that, although, most of the current decision-making approaches and bridge management systems are based on the optimization of a single objective , minimization of life cycle costs, a multi-objective approach for decision-making, which can incorporate all relevant objectives, is proposed to enable the satisfying strategies for the design and management of highway bridge decks, which are direct or indirect measures of social, economic and environmental sustainability for highway bridges and neighboring communities.

The durability of ECC materials plays a key role in the design of more sustainable bridge infrastructure using ECC materials .

The engineering is becoming a non-stop field that's growing up daily, especially in the field of bridges. So far no research has been done on the characteristics of a sustainable bridge. Additionally because of increasing the traffic volume and inadequate repairing funds, it seems that the characteristic of technology should integrate to the triple line of sustainability to make more engineering sustainable concern to develop the Economical, Environmental, Social, and the Technological aspects of designing the bridge.

The characteristics of a sustainable Bridge will meet the needs and necessaries of the current and future generations by ensuring:

To balance the economical aspects such as; recourse uses, life cycle cost, recyclability, local environment development, and practicability of the bridge.

To protect the environmental levels in term of pollution, solid waste, resource use, recyclability, and human satisfaction of bridge with a sufficient result.

To improve and defend the social issues contain; local economic development, human health and safety, human satisfaction, sense of community, noise reduction, and increase social equity, and

To use the most useful technological issues in the design stage of the bridge, such as; recyclability, practicability, flexibility, and innovative.

Statement of Problem:

It is the responsibility of humanity to ensure that resources are available for the next generation, and for many generations to come. Furthermore the numbers of bridges are increasing and concurrently the fast development may have a serious impact on them, and that reasonable impact is in need of identifying before the bridge could be constructed. As it can be observed, the sustainable design is responsible design, and the duty of design falls on engineers. It is engineers that have, and will continue to promote and practice sustainable design to protect our vital resources.

Different measures and actions have taken to reach to the sustainable bridges, by integrating a few criteria. The purpose of this study is to determine the whole characteristics of a sustainable bridge, especially the long-span bridges to evaluate the sustainability of bridges.

Objective of the Study:

The aim of this study is to determine the standard criteria that can make a sustainable bridge in construction.

Thus, to achieve the above aim, there are three (3) objectives that have been established as follows:

To identify common standards for the sustainable structures.

To investigate the strategies to achieve sustainable bridge design.

To determine the standard criteria for the sustainable bridges.

Significance of the Study:

Although currently there is no study that shows the characteristics of a sustainable bridge, the findings of this study are important to help the construction industry, engineers, architectures, owners, and even government to find out the best sustainable benchmarking for bridges in order to plan a new bridge or maintenance the exist bridges.

Scope of the Study:

The long-span bridges are in need of more site preparation and material uses in comparison to short-span. Therefore the largest environmental impact and even benefit from sustainable plan are likely to long-span bridges.

This study involved some famous bridges in the world up to date, where selected by searching on the internet (Google Scholar, and some Journals). And additional data collected via questionnaires were distributed from ….. To …. Of 2013.


One of the latest trends in engineering is sustainable design, which is designing so that resources are available for many generations to come. Sustainable design considers the ecological, economic, and socio-cultural environments and works to balance all three.

Sustainable design sounds great in theory, but there is often difficulty when it comes to implementation. This report focuses on the development of a rating system for sustainable bridge design by dividing into four criteria:

Environmental Aspects of Bridges:

The bridge has a critical effect on the surrounding ecological environment. Environmental issues are now the most important issue the twenty-first century. It calls Green Design for:

Use less material and try to use renewable raw materials;

The production process reduces energy consumption, do not pollute the environment;

Easy disassembly, recycling, reuse;

Easy to use, safe, long life.

Bridge construction; also consume a lot of resources and the base of the excavation of the bridge, pier and a series of perfusion activities directly or indirectly, damage to the environment, destroy the habitat of animals and plants living conditions, exacerbated by ecological system degradation. Thus the construction of the bridge should follow the concept of green building to achieve the sustainable development of the bridge .

Bridge in the course of the general does not produce a product harmful to the environment, but in its construction phase impact on the surrounding environment is extremely serious. Its impact on the ecological environment include: atmospheric pollution, water pollution, soil erosion and noise pollution. Thus, the use of "green" concept to the bridge design and construction is essential.

Economic Aspects of Bridges:

The bridge structure can provide the necessary rigidity of the glass beams, glass fiber composite materials made of glass fiber reinforced plastic composite materials, lower cost, in different parts of the structure using different materials, the glass reduces the cost of steel bridges, which have a competitive and can meet the huge green future bridge market.

The previous researchers had developed a comprehensive bridge management system using evolutionary algorithms to optimize life cycle costs at both the network and project levels. The system represents a tool for transportation agencies and decision makers in optimizing bridge maintenance plans and repair strategies over a number of years within budget limits and other related agency constraints so that feasible and practical plans can be determined .

Social Aspects of Bridges:

Bridge accident costs are adopted as a measure of social performance as these costs are mainly covered by insurance premiums (material damages) and health services paid in large by the public or society. The considered accident costs are those costs incurred due to an increase in the accident rate during maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement (MR&R) activities on bridge decks. These costs include costs related to injuries and damage to property.

These social pressures are less tangible and more difficult to objectively measure (i.e. Physical pain and stresses, reduced quality of life, etc.) .

Human Satisfaction:

Climate and culture is concerned with appropriateness for climate, appropriateness for culture, degree of landscape damage, and habitability, which includes live ability relative to thermal efficiency, acoustic properties, water permeability, optical properties, hygiene, comfort, light, and ventilation. Noise is any unwanted sound. Noise can have profound effects on mental well-being, health, sleep patterns, and ability to work; it can cause both psychological and physical damage .

Technological Aspects of Bridges:

The environmental and economic benefits of sustainability are inherently linked when considering building materials because of the long-term financial advantages of recycling and using recycled products. Recyclability can be measured as a percentage of the material. In addition, the recycling index relates the financial value of raw materials going into a product with the anticipated financial value of disassembled components and materials at the end of its life. The higher the recycling value, the more likely it is that end of-life disassembly for recycling or reuse will be economically feasible (Bennett and James 1999). It is important to determine the extent of what is considered to be abundant. The use of naturally renewed materials is an important rule for supporting sustainability (Santamouris 2006).

Reuse means using the material again with or without any refurbishment. Reusing materials provide a multitude of benefits such as reduction in degradation of the material extraction site, occupation of less landfill volume, and saving energy for the production of new materials (Santamouris 2006).


This study was implemented in four phases as illustrated in figure1.1 below.

The methodology covers the identification of the problem and scope of study at the first phase. The finalization of area for the study is based on the importance of study, personal interest, previous experience of author and discussions with expert people in the field. This is done by studying case studies, previous projects, journals, and articles. Second phase leads to establishing the objectives for study and literature review. Objectives were identified by reviewing the literature and discussion with the supervisor.

Data collection will be the third phase. Field data will be collected from selected area of study by interviewing and questioners. And final fourth phase will be on data analysis and conclusion and recommendations. Collected data will be analyzed to develop a conclusion of the study.


The expected finding of this study would achieve the objectives that have been set in the early stage of the study. There are:


1. To identify common standards for the sustainable structures.

2. To investigate the strategies to achieve sustainable bridge design.

3. To determine the standard criteria for the sustainable bridges.




Tentative Research Schedule

















Project Proposal


Literature Review

Research Methodology

Technical Paper