The ReadySpan Benefits of Pre-Engineering

ReadySpan prefabricated pedestrian bridges are known for their precision construction and extreme quality, and at the center of that commitment to quality is our pre-engineering process. By producing ReadySpan’s modular components in controlled conditions with rigid tolerances, Bedford ensures that the bridge will assemble with ease and perform for years under the given load conditions and traffic.

When materials are manufactured and fabricated in advance of construction rather than onsite, all measurements can be precisely controlled. For basic assembly of parts, pre-engineering might be as simple as making sure all the holes line up. But for a structure as complicated as a pedestrian, equestrian or light vehicle bridge, pre-engineering also must account for load conditions, traffic, climate elements and more. Our engineering team uses rapid interactive structural analysis software (RISA-3D) to make sure your ReadySpan prefabricated pedestrian bridge will be built to your exact needs.

In the video below, ReadySpan Sales Accounts Manager Ted Harris explores how pre-engineering ensures that your ReadySpan bridge will meet your needs for years to come.

Pre-Engineered Bridges Save Money

For most bridge projects, the transportation of materials and the labor costs of onsite construction are major expenses. A ReadySpan prefabricated bridge significantly lowers those costs.

  • Reduced shipping costs. Because the components of a ReadySpan bridge have been pre-engineered for precision assembly, you won’t be paying to ship extra material that will later be trimmed away as waste. Plus, ReadySpan pre-engineered bridges are made using fiberglass-reinforced polymer (FRP) materials, which are significantly lighter than steel. This allows your bridge components to be packaged more compactly and shipped as a lighter load.
  • Reduced transport costs. Bridges, especially park bridges and trail bridges, tend to be in remote locations where a big tractor-trailer rig can’t go. That means materials have to be carried or transported in smaller vehicles. Again, weight is a big factor here. The lightweight FRP reduces the time and labor needed to get materials to the project site. In addition, because the components have been pre-engineered to fit perfectly and install with standard tools, less time is spent hauling tools and equipment to the jobsite.
  • Reduced assembly time. Pre-engineering delivers significant savings here. Components are clearly labeled, so less time is needed to sort the parts. The pre-engineering process ensures that each component has been fabricated to precision specifications, so less time is needed to trim parts to fit or drill holes for bolts. Plus, ReadySpan prefabricated bridges assemble easily with ordinary tools, so you won’t have to pay for a welder or rent special equipment.
  • More assembly savings. In addition to shipping your bridge components in a kit, ReadySpan offers two more options that further shorten assembly time. Your pre-engineered bridge can be partially assembled in advance and shipped to you in modules for simple final assembly in the field. Or you can have your bridge completely pre-assembled so that it can be easily dropped into your space and secured.
  • Reduced maintenance costs. The primary savings here come from the fact that FRP materials are virtually maintenance-free, but pre-engineering plays a role as well. Unlike metal and wood structures that expand and contract, the stability of FRP combined with the precision accuracy of pre-engineering helps ensure that bolts and fasteners don’t work loose and require constant monitoring and re-tightening.

Pre-Engineered Bridges Ensure Quality

Pre-engineering allows our engineering team to take every factor of your ReadySpan prefabricated pedestrian bridge into account before production. Using the RISA-3D software, they can design and engineer ReadySpan structures based on FRP material properties, pedestrian live loads, vehicle loads, snow loads, wind loads, seismic loads and more.

We follow the design standards established by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 7-10, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, and then our experienced team utilizes the RISA-3D software and their own expertise to help ensure ideal specifications. The software is able to produce 3D graphic modeling of your ReadySpan bridge. The structural analysis for your bridge — included at no extra cost on every ReadySpan bridge project — verifies that your bridge will stand the test of time under the given load conditions and traffic. Pre-engineering assures that the bridge components will be manufactured to the tight specifications provided in the structural analysis.

ReadySpan FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to help add to your ReadySpan pedestrian, equestrian or light vehicle bridge knowledge.

Do “pre-engineered” and “prefabricated” mean the same thing?
In bridge construction, pre-engineered and prefabricated tend to be used interchangeably to mean modular components fabricated in a factory rather than on the jobsite. Technically, pre-engineering refers to the design process and prefabrication refers to the manufacturing process, but they really aren’t used that way in common language.

What is a prefab trail bridge?
As noted above, you might see a bridge referred to as pre-engineered or prefabricated (prefab for short). For ReadySpan, a pre-engineered bridge means the components were manufactured under controlled conditions for maximum quality, cost savings and installation ease.

What are the components of a ReadySpan pre-engineered bridge?
The pre-engineered components of a ReadySpan pedestrian, equestrian or light vehicle bridge include all of the FRP pieces, such as the outrigger support, channel crosspieces, upper and lower chords, railings and more. For added durability, all hardware is available in hot-dipped galvanized steel or stainless steel and is matched to perfectly fit the pre-engineered design. Download the ReadySpan brochure for a breakdown of common components.

Here to Help

To learn more about the benefits of pre-engineering, reach out to our knowledgeable team. You can also request a quote or call 814-623-8125 to discuss your project.