A New Method of Rapid Rail Bridge Replacement

Bridges are a beautiful example of structural engineering and essential pieces of infrastructure. When a bridge needs repairs, it can take significant amounts of time, effort and capital to complete, all while impeding commerce and increasing travel times.

In an effort to bypass some of these limitations, Engineered Rigging has developed a solution to replace rail bridge spans in record time, estimating the time to replace a single span to be under a day.

Unlike hydraulic cylinder lift methods, the Rapid Bridge Replacement System installs on top of the rails, rather than underneath, eliminating the need for below-rail modifications to adjacent sections. The enclosed lift girder doubles as a safe passageway for crews crossing the bridge once the span is removed. The whole system can support up to 250 tons, allowing for entire bridge span sections to be moved at once.

The lift system is mechanically engaged, operating without cable drums or hydraulics in order to cut down on maintenance and mechanical failures. On top of this, the system can be operated remotely, potentially keeping crews and operators out of harm’s way. The system will also remain engaged during a power outage, maintaining stability and further reducing the potential for injury.

Crews can set up the modular system on a nearby industrial rail spur, preventing any significant interruption in main line service. It can be assembled in three to four shifts, while the rigging components can be shipped on five standard size flatbed trucks requiring no special permits.

“Depending on the number of spans, railroads can safely and efficiently replace a complete bridge in days rather than months,” explained Bogdan Gaita, VP of Engineered Rigging.

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