Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Steely grip

Highways

Steelwork contractors are claiming that a quiet revolution has taken place in the short span highway overbridges market over the past five years.

These structures - with spans under 25m - would traditionally have been built in concrete.

But now statistics produced for Corus suggest that steel has captured about 20% of the market.

The turn in the material's fortunes was clearly seen on the M6 Toll where all the overbridges - 46 - were steel.

Price could be a reason.

Concrete construction prices have risen by 20% more in real terms than steel over the past 10 years, even after the recent rise in steel prices.

Structural steelwork is now only the same in real terms as in 1995. 'Steel price rises have left the competitive position unchanged, ' says Dr Peter Lloyd, managing director of steelwork contractor Fairfield Mabey. 'Concrete bridges also use a lot of steel and rebar prices have risen even more than the steel plate which we use in bridges.'

The Highways Agency has now reduced the headroom requirement for weathering steel girders over roads to 5.3m, the same as for concrete. One of the first projects to use weathering steel at the new headroom height is the recently opened £38.5M Chieveley A34/M4 junction improvement contract. This was also one of the first contracts where the Highways Agency assigned a monetary value to speed of construction in assessing tenders.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.