Short Span Steel Bridges

Many of the United States' substandard bridges are short span bridges, falling within the 20’ to 120’ span range. Virtually every one of them could be replaced with durable, sustainable, economical steel. By utilizing new modular systems, a steel bridge can now be installed in less than 48 hours.

Bridge engineers are always concerned with finding the most cost-effective bridge solutions. However, the time and funding available for comparing alternatives are often limited, particularly for short span bridges. A new interactive, web-based design tool called eSPAN140 is now available to assist bridge professionals with their individual projects, with customized results delivered in less than one minute. Click here to try it out. SMDI has also developed short span bridge design aids, guidelines, and educational seminars to help bridge owners, engineers and designers choose the best material for the job.

For more information on SMDI's short span steel bridge program, contact Dan Snyder.

Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance
The Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance is a group of bridge and culvert industry leaders, including manufacturers, fabricators and representatives of related associations and government organizations, who have joined together to increase awareness of the unique benefits, cost-competitiveness and safety facts related to the use of short span steel bridges in installations up to 140 feet in length.

Newly developed steel grades with higher yield strength, better toughness and improved weldability offer significant benefits in weight savings and fabrication cost reductions in the design of short span bridges. Steel offers solutions for all types of crossings. Short span steel bridges can be built quickly using local crews, and many can be designed using prefabricated components which are simple to install and offer considerable cost savings. Fast. Flexible. Simple. Cost-Effective. That's the steel advantage.

The Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance offers many tools for bridge professionals, including free design support for questions relating to bridge and buried soil structure (culvert) design and a learning center. A new, free web-based design tool provides customized steel solutions for short span crossings up to 140 feet (eSPAN140). Additional free professional advice on eSPAN140 designs are available from the Bridge Technology Center, whose experts can be reached at the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance website at

Read more about eSPAN140 in this Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Every Day Counts Request for Information.

New! Get a comprehensive look at short span steel bridge design in a one-day event! The National Steel Bridge Alliance's Steel Bridge Forum will be held on April 16, 2014 in Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Michael Barker from the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance's Bridge Technology Center will present on economical short span steel bridges and demonstrate the design tool eSPAN140.