What Are the Most Common Materials Used in Bridge Construction?

A bridge’s structure is basically divided into two major parts: superstructure which is the upper portion of the bridge above the beams where vehicles move and pedestrians walk, this includes beams, bearings, deck, sidewalks etc., and substructure that is below the superstructure and actually caries the entire weight of the bridge, this includes bridge’s foundation, piles, beam seats etc.

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Bridges are complex structures and must be carefully engineered using only strong, long-lasting materials that are light-weight as well to support the entire structure with minimum strain. Some of the typical materials used in bridge construction are steel, concrete, stone, aluminium, asphalt and iron etc.

  1. Stone

Stone is one of the oldest bridge construction materials, is heavy and involves high installation costs. It is used to build piers and footers which allow the upper portions of the bridge to be built with lighter materials. Stone is naturally strong and resists erosion by wind and water to a great extent rendering it an ideal bridge construction material.

  1. Cement

Another very commonly employed material in bridge construction is concrete which, although is strong and affordable, is considered unattractive because of its dull finish. Concrete can be easily shaped into whatever form the constructor desires but does not hold up well against erosion and is often used coupled with steel.

  1. Steel

10 to 100 times stronger than concrete and light-weight as well, steel alone has probably revolutionised the entire construction industry like no other material ever did. It is mostly employed in bridges’ superstructure in the form of expansion joints, beams, bearings, floor beams, girders, reinforcing bars in concrete, traffic barriers and trusses. It is not corrosion-resistant and many steel bridges are painted to resist rust and corrosion and improve appearance.

Steel is commonly used in the bridge superstructure for armoring expansion joints, beams, bearings, floor beams, girders, reinforcing bars in concrete, traffic barriers and trusses. It is used in the substructure for the reinforcing bars in concrete, armoring for expansion joints, anchor bolts, etc. It is also used for piles to support the abutments and piers.

  1. Aluminum

A recent replacement for steel in bridge construction that is not only light-weight but resists corrosion caused by wind and water, aluminium has been making its way into the construction industry for quite some time now. It is often used in place of steel where high corrosion rate of steel is expected and is used to make bridge railings.

  1. Wood

Not as reliable as steel, concrete and aluminium, wood is often used to construct smaller bridges where very less traffic and people are supposed to use it at one time. It is one of the most affordable bridge materials, easy to use and work with using only the basic building tools, equipment and machinery. Wooden bridges are usually found in Northern regions and look beautiful against the serene backdrop. They are made to last longer through a chemical treatment because moisture can cause the wood to swell and rot.

Other bridge building materials used along with these basic ones are composites, asphalt, iron and rubber.

Solutions to Improve the Security of the Road Roller’s Operation

Road rollers have been employed in road construction industry for decades now. They are basically used coupled with different compacting and smoothening equipment for various road construction operations. A road roller normally consists of roller units at the front and rear end with a hydraulic steering system. Initial compaction of any road surface is achieved by the use of roller tires. The wheels are flexible to attain some vertical movement that enables the roller to operate efficiently on an irregular ground surface.

After the initial compression of an uneven surface the final compression is done using roller drums. The drum’s weight is used for that purpose and on some equipment the roller drums are filled with water to attain the weight desired for compaction of the road surface. Compaction can be increased with a smaller machine by using vibrating roller drums to achieve the same compactness as by a larger roller. Road rollers’ drum surface is usually lubricated with water to prevent the asphalt from getting affixed with it and ruin the surface’s smoothness and the overall result, allowing the drum to compact as smoothly as possible. Besides compacting road surfaces, road rollers are also employed for the compaction of landfills. Since landfill compaction does not require a perfectly smooth surface therefore road rollers with knobbed wheels are used for this purpose.

Road rollers are often working at dangerous sites fixing the uneven and difficult roads and chances are high they may encounter unlikely situations and break down. If the road roller’s operator isn’t very experienced they may be paying too much attention at controlling the machine itself and forget to manoeuvre successfully through the bumps, ditches and difficult patches of road. When the road rollers are very likely to confront with problems on the roads it is necessary to equip the machine with highly reliable brake system.

All the major road construction equipment makers in the world work day and night to improve the technology and create more sophisticated and easy to handle heavy construction machinery to minimise potential risks and accidents. They realised the importance of a fool-proof brake system in road rollers for safe operation and adopted advanced technologies to strengthen the machine’s brake system.

Road rollers now come equipped with full hydraulic all-wheel brake system that provides reliable braking in extreme conditions such as engine failure, transmission failure or road accident. Braking distance in these new generation road rollers is reduced by almost 50% compared to the other equipment in the same construction machinery category which has proven to be highly efficient at preventing brake-related safety hazards.

Also, it is extremely important the construction companies to do not hand over any kind of heavy construction machinery to a novice or anyone with less experience than required to operate a machine as complicated as a road roller. Sure it doesn’t go at the speed of a race car but it does require sharp senses, reflexes and experience otherwise no improvised brake system or any other technical improvement is going to prevent men at work from getting into trouble every time a beginner operates a road roller.

Best Practices for Resurfacing Gravel Roads

When the funds aren’t enough or traditional paved roads aren’t a requirement, gravel roads are made to serve the purpose instead of leaving the residents of that area with dusty, uneven roads. These are a cost-effective alternative to traditional roads but keeping them in top condition requires work and vigilance. Heavy traffic and water damage can lead to dangerous potholes, rutting and excessive quantities of dust which needs to be resurfaced in order to bring gravel roads back to working condition.

When Does A Gravel Road Need Resurfacing?

Various factors can play a part in steady deterioration of gravel roads such as rain, snow plowing, frequent heavy truck traffic, and speeding drivers. If gravel roads are left to deteriorate under these conditions, they can greatly damage the road’s underlying structure and durability. Although continuous maintenance does not let gravel roads damage to that extent but if such condition arises, maintenance crew brings in heavy machinery and a quality surface gravel mix to lay on the withering surface.

There are basically two types of gravels most commonly used in the making of gravel roads, quarry gravel which contains a mix of limestone, quartzite, and granite, as well as stone, sand, silt, and clay; or river gravel that is made up of stone and sand. A binder is also added to the mixture that holds larger stones and particles together preventing water from seeping through and destroying the roads.

How to Resurface A Gravel Road?

Resurfacing a damaged gravel road while it’s dry takes up a lot of time and effort and kicks up a lot of dust that can cause allergic reactions in people living nearby therefore resurfacing is most often done after a rainfall when the surface is malleable enough to reposition the gravel easily without having to use very heavy machinery.

There are many different ways and machinery used to resurface a gravel road. Maintenance crews may use tractors (to move gravel and dirt), box scrapper (to lift the gravel above the surface and lay it down evenly), chain harrow (for smoothing out the surface especially in dry season) and the most commonly used equipment being a motor grader also known as road grader.

Motor graders resemble large tractors with the exception of having blades at their ends that are very helpful in mixing the gravel, cutting into the road surface, picking up the material that has made its way above the actual surface and evenly spreading out new road material and shape the entire gravel road by moving the blades from shoulders to the center. For best results, motor graders are operated by trained technicians who operate the machine at an optimum speed between three to five miles per hour and set the angle of the blade between 30 to 45 degrees. Motor graders are capable of lifting off any unnecessary material from the road’s surface, discard debris and vegetation as well.

Gravel roads are a cost effective way to provide rural areas with something better than a dirt road but of course only with continuous maintenance are they made to last for years and serve well.

Top 5 Construction Machinery Manufacturers

We have seen a number of mega construction projects going on one after another all over the world which is good news for companies who manufacture construction machinery. Billions of dollars worth construction equipment is sold worldwide owing to the massive growth in construction industry but who are the biggest construction machinery manufacturers in the world? Who are those that are leading in this business?

Here are some of the world’s top construction machinery manufacturers that specialize in building heavy-duty automobiles utilized in construction tasks:

  1. Caterpillar (USA)

Caterpillar Inc, an American corporation, has been around for ages now. The company was founded in 1800s with Benjamin Holt building his first combined harvester in California in 1886. Beginning with that, Caterpillar has always proven to be the best in the industry with their problem solving abilities and people who make extraordinary things happen. They design, develop, engineer, manufacture, market and sell heavy-duty construction machinery, engines, financial products and insurance to customers all over the world. Caterpillar announced in January this year that they will be moving their head office from Peoria to Chicago.

  1. Komatsu (Japan)

Komatsu came into being in 1917 in Japan as Komatsu Iron Works that was meant to make machine tools and mining equipment for Takeuchi Mining Industry for their in-house use only. The company later separated from Takeuchi Mining Company became Komatsu Ltd and expanded their manufacturing and sales to other companies. They created their and Japan’s first crawler-type farm tractor in 1931 and have since produced a number of heavy construction, mining and military machinery and industrial equipment such as press machines, lasers and thermoelectric generators.

  1. Volvo Construction Equipment (Sweden)

Volvo Construction Equipment started their journey back in mid 1800s in Eskilstuna, Sweden when three men, two brothers Jean and Carl Gerhard Bolinder, and Johan Theofron Munktell, laid the foundation for the company and sold Sweden’s first locomotive in 1853 after years of hard work and research. The company has grown exponentially over the years through in-house development as well as mergers and acquisitions. With their headquarters situated in Brussels, the company has now numerous production facilities all over the world including France, Germany, Poland, US, Mexico, Brazil, India, China and Korea. They are known for their top quality wheel loaders, hydraulic excavators, articulated haulers, motor graders, soil and asphalt compactors, pavers etc.

  1. Hitachi Construction Equipment (Japan)

Hitachi has come a long way since its inception more than 100 years ago. Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd is a construction equipment manufacturing company in Japan which is part of Hitachi Group of companies. The company has stayed true to their commitment to efficiency, quality, reliability and durability since they started their first electric motor repair shop in Japan in 1910, and their recent introduction of Dash-6 models to the world proves their ability to innovate beyond imagination. Hitachi Construction Equipment caters to both large and small-scale construction industries and offers machinery to carry out digging, loading, carrying, breaking, grabbing, cutting, crushing, and screening

  1. Liebherr (Germany)

Liebherr is a group of companies which has over 100 companies structured into ten industries: Earthmoving, Mining, Mobile Cranes, Tower Cranes, Concrete Technology, Maritime Cranes, Aerospace and Transportation Systems, Machine Tools and Automation Systems, Domestic Appliances, and Components. The company started in post-war era in Germany when many parts of the country needed to be rebuilt. Hans Liebherr who was managing his parents building firm in South Germany at that time saw the need for tools and machinery in industry and domestic construction industry and later together with design engineers and industry people he developed his first tower crane in 1949. Today, the company owns world’s most powerful and tallest crawler cane that has the ability to lift 3000 tonnes of weight

8 Road Construction Work Zone Safety Tips

Warmer weather call for all kinds of movements on roads and highways, with more and more construction sites popping up everywhere to get things fixed and made before colder months and snow hits the roads. A number of construction worker deaths are caused by roadway incidents involving motor vehicles. Since it’s inevitable to block off entire streets and areas to conduct construction work, people and traffic are very likely to pass by construction sites making it essential for site management to practice some rules and guidelines to avoid accidents.
It’s crucial that road construction management at every site practice these essential safety tips to avoid accidents:
Have a Traffic Control Plan
Before starting a road construction project the management must devise a plan to control traffic around and through the construction site so it may flow with little to no obstruction. Also a similar plan is required inside the work zone that ensures smooth flow of heavy equipment, vehicles, workers and construction material from one point to another.
A Safety Meeting Everyday
Every day at a construction site may involve different tasks. In addition to ensuring all your workers are properly trained to carry out the jobs it is a good idea to have a quick safety meeting before beginning each day at the construction site. Ensure they know all the rules and are wearing their safety gear.
Use Warning Signs
It’s upon construction site management to install advanced warning signs alerting those using the road of upcoming changes in driving conditions and point them towards any possible diversion. Use signs throughout the changed driving course alerting drivers of pattern shifts and termination area telling them the usual path resumption.
Create Separate Work Areas
A construction site is usually a busy area with several work activities happening at the same time. Machinery and workers are bound to collide with each other if proper warning signs and cones and barrels are not used to separate specific areas of work from others.
Avoid Blind Spots
Constantly moving vehicles and equipment is a usual sight at a construction site. To avoid any possible accident the operators must ensure that all mirrors and visual aid devices are attached and working properly including backup alarms and lights. Pedestrians should ensure they are always in sight of the machinery operators.
Wear Safety Equipment
Most of the accidents at any construction site can be avoided if workers and other personnel are wearing proper safety equipment that complies with construction industry standards. Personal protective equipment includes highly visible bright fluorescent orange or lime/yellow vests, jackets or shirts, hard hats, steel-toed boats and hearing protection.
Stay Aware of Surroundings
Whether you are a site manager, machinery operator or someone who has to walk a lot inside the construction site, regardless of your job duties you must stay aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on anything near you if possible and look for unusual movements and equipment behaviour.
Stay Hydrated
Last but not the least, stay hydrated. Working at a construction site means long hours of continuous work under sun and rain. Workers are susceptible to overexertion and dehydration and heat strokes. Ensure you and your workers stay hydrated at all times and have first aid at hand if anyone falls down due to heat or any other reason.

How Important is Road Infrastructure to Economic Growth

Cities and countries all over the world face unparalleled and unique economic, fiscal and environmental challenges that make it crucial for people and governments to reconsider their ways of conducting businesses. Although these forces are incredibly diverse yet they share a common need for modern, efficient and reliable infrastructure to grow and expand.

Road infrastructure has huge implications on how private and government sector work and play a huge role in economic growth.

Essential Building Blocks of Economy

Infrastructure may go unappreciated at times but in fact concrete, steel and fibre optics are the essential building blocks of any country’s economy. Infrastructure is the backbone of a country’s healthy economy and enables it to grow. If it was not for paved roads, high-speed internet speeds, telecommunication systems, concrete buildings, freight railroads and energy projects, no country would be able to flourish, create jobs and opportunities for struggling communities.

Supports Labourers

Not everyone has the ability, education and experience to get hired for every kind of professional job. Continuous growth and improvement in infrastructure creates numerous types of jobs for everyone from a labourer to a qualified engineer. To support this fact, a lot of studies have been conducted and one such in Brookings Institution analysis Bureau of Labour Statistics data reveals that nearly 14 million people have jobs in fields related to infrastructure building and maintenance. Infrastructure jobs offer low barriers of entry and are expected to grow over the years.

Nationals Goals

A strong infrastructure paves the way for national goals to be achieved. A country’s economy needs a reliable infrastructure that connects people across the borders and allows connecting supply chains and efficiently moving products and services. For a society to grow and progress it needs a proper infrastructure that connects people and households to various parts of the cities to access employment, healthcare and education. Proper public transport system alone can help reduce greenhouse gases and reduce pollution. The same goes for high-speed internet networks, telecommunication systems, water systems and energy production systems.

Easier Access To Education

Why are so many children still unable to get access to basic education? Besides a lot other reasons, one is the poor infrastructure that prevents people from far away to reach to educational institutes. Distance here functions as one of the major challenges in the way of education in most developing countries. Existence of a simple paved road affects the percentage of kids reaching schools in countries with meagre infrastructure. Imagine the implications it has in the long run on economy, society and scope of living for a percentage of people!

Conclusion
Effective, efficient and reliable infrastructure provides economic, societal and cultural benefits that result in subsequent benefits of better access to markets, employment, education and investment opportunities. On the other hand, a society deprived of a reliable infrastructure suffers beyond measures. They lack access to basic education, health services, job opportunities and better city markets.

Highway Construction Equipment: Top 4 Maintenance Tips

Whether it’s an artist, engineer or a constructor, preserving one’s tools and machinery the right way is the first and foremost task every professional needs to do. In case of construction engineers and experts, the excavators, bulldozers and other heavy machinery work really hard and keeping everything in top condition is no easy task. However, you will notice that the more you put your energy into maintaining your heavy machinery the more you will be able to depend on them when needed. Lower costs, less frequent breakdowns and minimal traffic impacts are just a few of the many benefits of regular machinery maintenance.

Here are our top 3 tips that will ensure your heavy construction machinery stays in shape all year long and works as efficiently as it did the first day.

Run Scheduled Maintenance

Pretty obvious, right? The top tip to maintaining healthy and perfectly in condition machines (or any vehicle for that matter) is to keep a schedule of important maintenance tasks and sticking to it as well. Maintenance is usually done on a number of levels and not every type needs to be repeated every few weeks or months. Lube jobs, vehicle inspection, or tire inspection can be performed every month or so, oil and filter changes is a rather more complex issue and should be checked every two to four months, component testing or brake overhaul and replacement are usually performed every six to twelve months, and engine refurbishment should be done after every two years. Moreover, these scheduled maintenance jobs may vary depending on the extent a machine is used. Obviously if it’s being used a lot you will need to squeeze in a few more check-up routines in usual schedule.

Train Your Staff Regularly

Will you hand over an expensive machine to someone who has no idea how to operate it? Will you be not concerned about the person’s safety and the machine’s maintenance issue? Think about it. You may not immediately consider training your staffs as a huge maintenance issue but it is. As the machines are refurbished, renewed and upgraded, keeping everyone in the loop about what has been done and how that changes operation is important and should be taught.

Store Them Properly

This is probably somewhat neglected and owners end up going into trouble and spending a lot more money when reusing the machines after a long hiatus. If you have heavy vehicles and machinery that you know will not be used for an extended period of time, you need to store them properly. If you thought you saved money by not investing in a storage building, you are wrong. The cost to store your vehicles outdoors anywhere other than a storage building is thrice the cost to building a storage house. Before you put any machine away make sure you wash everything thoroughly, dry them and give the machine a complete inspection: check for any broken or wobbly parts, any bare spots on paint that may invite rust.

Go Digital

Lastly, keeping records of every inspection cycle and maintenance is super essential so that no one is left behind; you need everyone on the same page. Also, paper inspection forms can go missing easily and are not accessible to everyone at the same time, go digital if you can and save all your important data on the cloud so that any technician or engineer has their hands on it whenever need be.

Common Road Construction Hazards

Major accidents and hazards resulting from road construction and construction in general happen quite frequently with minor accidents occurring a lot more. With the necessary education and safety gear given to the employees from their bosses, a lot of the unnecessary accidents can be prevented.

Here are some of the most common construction hazards:

Working at Height

Accidents related to falls from heights at construction sites are probably the most commonly reported ones. Construction and/or demolition of buildings requires workers to be at a certain height and proper safety gear and training is essential for employees required to work at height.

Moving Objects

Road construction requires constant moving of vehicles, materials and workers, overhead lifting equipment, shifting heavy loads, supply vehicles and dumper trucks etc, all that manoeuvring over an uneven path can become risky.

Slips, Trips, & Falls

Road construction sites are a mish-mash of holes in the ground, uneven terrain and various equipment and materials being transported, considering the diverse range of activities going on at a road construction site, slips, trips and falls seem unavoidable and happen almost on a daily basis.

Material & Equipment Handling

The equipment being constantly used in road construction to lie down, transport and mix materials are not light-weight and require proper training and education on employee’s part. Failure to operate heavy duty construction machinery can lead to fatal accidents.

Respiratory Diseases

Construction sites have a multitude of activities going on at the same time which can often result in an often invisible, fine, toxic mixture of hazardous materials and fibres in the air that can cause lung damage of not only the workers but anyone living nearby.

Noise

Noise hazard is inevitable in construction industry. Loud noises created by heavy machinery and workers trying to communicate over these loud noises results in unbearable noise pollution that can cause hearing problems if workers are exposed to it for long-term.

A lot of accidents can be avoided simply by having a proper work system in place, providing workers with necessary education and safety equipment.

Different Types of Road Construction and Surfaces

Ever since the invention of the wheel, it has been human race’s ultimate quest to develop the best and finest of road constructions methods, processes and materials. And while on it, we have developed and modified several different types of road construction materials and have found their various uses in civil engineering. Even today, there remains a constant need to improve the already present road construction materials and to come up with much better, improved and stronger materials and methods than ever before.

Let’s take a look at some of the most employed road construction materials and methods:

Asphalt

Undoubtedly the most popular of all materials and construction methods is asphalt paving. It was first used in the 1920s and ever since the engineers have worked harder to make it better and stronger than before. In this method, a layer of gravel is laid in the base and an equally thick layer of asphalt is laid over the top. Some of the outstanding advantages of asphalt paving are its relatively low cost, the resultant pavement that produces lesser noise and the ease of its maintenance and repair. However, the material is not as durable and strong and is not recommended safe for the environment.

Concrete

Another hugely popular choice other than asphalt paving is concrete construction. It is often used for local roads construction only and not any other types. Concrete road construction is mainly divided into three categories JPCP, JRCP, and CRCP and what distinguishes these from each other is the joint system employed in each that basically prevents cracks from appearing in the concrete pavement. The biggest advantage of concrete paving over asphalt is its durability and strength and the downside is that it’s expensive to lay and maintain.

Composite

What makes composite construction materials different from the rest is these are not used in the foundation of a road. These are the types of construction materials that are more related to maintenance, recycling, and rehabilitation of roads and pavements. Composite materials are nothing different though but a mixture of both asphalt and concrete and are employed in road maintenance in one of two ways. These are either placed directly over a damaged road or alternatively the damaged road is completely cracked and resealed using composite materials forming a completely new surface.

Bituminous Solutions

Unlike asphalt and concrete paving which are used to construct the actual road, bituminous and other temporary solutions are mainly used as sealing coats or finishes over the main construction material. Not recommended to be used for roads that have to bear heavy traffic, these are only suitable for use on very low-traffic thoroughfares. Bituminous solutions have three different types of road sealing options, i.e., thin membrane surfacing, chip sealing and otta sealing.

Although these are very popular and have been employed in road construction all over the globe for decades, these are far from perfect. Civil engineers and scientists, that is why, are constantly working to come up with better, stronger, effective and longer lasting construction materials and methods that are not only cost effective as well but would hopefully require lesser maintenance.

Motor Graders for Efficient Construction and Road Maintenance

Motor grader also known as road grader is one of the most frequently used heavy-duty machinery in road construction and mining industries. Although graders come in different sizes and shapes, they all perform the same function and share the same specifications and configuration. Usually a motor grader comes with a long blade made out of stainless steel that is positioned between the front and back wheels and is called what gives the machine its name, ‘the grader’. It can be controlled either mechanically or hydraulically.

Modifications have been made in motor graders ever since their first use and now modern graders come with a blade that can be extended from side to side besides the usual movements. The blade can usually be raised or lowered depending upon the type of work being done. Another modification allows graders to be used with different attachments transforming a single grader into an extremely versatile machine to perform a variety of different kinds of construction and mining tasks.

Motor graders are most commonly employed in road construction projects and mining sites for creating a flat smooth surface to work further on. In Civil engineering works, the purpose of a road grader is to perform the fine grading procedures. The long blade on them is used to create a smooth surface during construction of paved roads where the asphalt can be placed later. Other than that, motor graders are also used in gravel and unpaved roads maintenance. Unpaved roads are prone to withering away because of harsh weather conditions. That is why they need to be maintained on a regular basis with a motor grader. Other than maintenance, graders are also used to remove rocks from roads and other construction sites. Besides their vast usage in road construction and maintenance, motor graders find their uses in mining industry as well and are also seen on every major mining site all over the world.

Fine grading is what’s done in a road construction project that is where the graders create a smooth and fine surface to lay asphalt on but motor graders can also be used for rough grading and for digging shallow holes. Rough grading is usually done by heavy construction vehicles like bulldozers and scrapers but can also be done with motor graders.

The sophistication of the machine and the experience of the operator play a huge role in the final result of the job. When it comes to construction and maintenance of roads, most of the issues arise because to lack of understanding by the people performing the task. Road drainage has always been a major issue leading to potholes and the usual bad condition of roads. Motor graders unlike the traditional heavy construction machinery are some of the most sophisticated machinery that requires proper knowledge and training to handle them. Most of the times, how well a road construction job is executed depends on the grader’s operator as to how well he can manage the machine and use it to its fullest. A lot of times the operators lack in-depth understanding of how a motor grader is different from a loser and needs to be used by changing the blade’s angles depending on the job.

The present day motor graders are the more versatile and flexible versions of the older graders and are designed with more advanced control units to perform far more difficult and delicate tasks than ever with more efficient results.