Utility bridges are robust bridges that are used for moving piping, equipment, or workers across long distances and over rivers, railways, highways, or other obstructions. 


Bridges and utilities have a long integrated history, and it is likely that bridges will continue to be used to transmit utility services over substantial distances for the foreseeable future. Because of aging utility bridges that need replacing, along with new utility infrastructure that is being built all the time, utility bridges make up a large percentage of new bridges being built. 


Today, thousands of miles of piping, cable, and other infrastructure spans utility bridges all over the world. These utility bridges transfer water, electricity, cable, data, and other critical services across rivers, lakes, bays, valleys, and highways.

What are the applications for utility bridges?

Utility bridges are mainly used for moving piping across a body of water or other obstruction. Because they are only carrying piping and not heavy machinery, utility bridges tend to be more lightweight than industrial bridges. Popular material choices for utility bridges are aluminum and painted steel with grate decking for easy cleaning and maintenance. A utility bridge has maintenance access which means that it need to comply with worker safety standards. Choose a bridge company that is knowledgeable about any safety standards that apply to utility bridges upon which workers will be maneuvering on a regular basis. Utility bridges are not intended for public use and usually don’t have to adhere to as strict of railing standards, depending on the fall height.


A utility bridge application encompasses a variety of situations. Utility bridges can carry everything from steam and condensate piping to process materials to larger duct work and electrical conduits. In addition, a utility bridge can incorporate personnel walkways, ladders, stairs, and fall protection systems in the design. If a utility bridge is meant to carry utilities over railroads, public roads, or other thoroughfares, there are usually strict permitting and design processes associated with this type of construction. Choose a bridge company that has the knowledge and experience to make sure that your utility bridge is designed, fabricated, and installed correctly. 

What do I need to know to have my utility bridge designed and built?

A good utility bridge should be inexpensive to manufacture and easy to maintain. While a utility bridge favors function over form, the design should still be customized to accommodate your site’s specific needs. A well designed and solidly manufactured utility bridge can help you move workers and equipment more efficiently around your site. Utility bridges can be used in a variety of applications and thus there are a wide range of widths and lengths for utility bridges. For example, utility bridges can span long distances while supporting only water lines and other utilities in a narrow width. This same utility bridge can be designed to be much wider to provide pipe support and a maintenance walkway.


The approach to the utility bridge should also be taken into consideration. Depending on what is being transported over or around a waterway, railroad, roadway, or other obstruction, there will need to be adequate space around the entrances to the utility bridge. Depending on how high the utility bridge needs to be, there may also need to be some type of structural abutment or ramp to move the industrial infrastructure up to the bridge elevation. 


Utility bridges are made out of steel or aluminum, depending on the location, needs of the owner, and the loads the bridge will carry. Aluminum is advantageous in that it is resistant to rust and corrosion. Steel is more robust but has to be maintained on a regular basis to protect it from damage. 


Safety is a major concern with utility bridges. Falling is a big risk in any industrial application and utility bridges are no exception. Supporting pipes and stringing utility lines across bridges is just one of the risky, yet essential, activities works will need to perform on utility bridges. In some cases, workers need to hang off the sides of the utility bridge in order to complete the job. A utility bridge should be designed with safety in mind, which is why it is important to choose a bridge company that is knowledgeable about current safety standards.

How can Bridge Brothers help me with my utility bridge?

Constructed from steel or aluminum, our prefabricated utility bridges have several advantages, including low cost, high quality fabrication, and quick, low-impact installation. A prefabricated utility bridge is the best way to ensure that a utility bridge is built quickly and has high-quality welds. Prefabricated does not mean off the shelf. Bridge Brothers will design and engineer a custom utility bridge built specifically for your needs and requirements. Because a prefabricated utility bridge is manufactured in a controlled environment, the Bridge Brothers can control the quality of the bridge and make sure that the schedule for fabricating the utility bridge is not impacted by weather or other site constraints. Once the utility bridge is completed, Bridge Brothers will deliver and install the utility bridge. 


While most utility bridges carry a utility of some sort, some utility bridges also need to accommodate maintenance crews or vehicles. Choose a bridge company that has in house engineers who will work with you to design your utility bridge so that it meets your industry’s needs. Bridge Brothers has designed, manufactured, and installed a variety of utility bridges both large and small. Utility bridges are about function. Because they are necessary for making your industrial site run smoothly, Bridge Brothers knows you need this utility bridge delivered fast. Bridge Brothers has processes in place to quickly move your utility bridge through the design, engineering, manufacturing, and installation phases. Bridge Brothers offers turn-key, prefabricated bridges of enduring strength and durability. 


Because utility bridge site locations can sometimes be remote or hard to reach, installation can be tricky. Bridge Brothers has experience in industrial bridge installation. We will prepare the site conditions for the bridge, design the utility bridge structure so that it is light weight and easy to assemble on site, and then install it. If the bridge is located on an existing job site, we will work around site constrains and work schedules. 


There are a large number of variables involved in designing utility bridges for new or existing sites. Bridge Brothers has experience with designing, engineering and installing utility bridges in a variety of locations. We can help you make the decision on what type of utility bridge will work best for your site based on cost, style, and environmental compatibility.

Utility bridge sketch