Oct. 23, 2017
Carmel Valley is an incredibly beautiful area with unique terrain. The terrain is one of the appeals of living here, but it also means that Carmel Valley homes for sale are often on steep hills or otherwise face potential access challenges created by the terrain itself.
However, there is a solution. New research shows that glulam timber bridges can last between 75 and 90 years under ordinary use at the relatively low traffic levels you are likely to see on county and township roads in parts of Carmel Valley.
These are bridges built from glulam, an engineered wood product that combines wood strips with glue to create a superior structural component compared to unmodified wood timbers. They are also cost effective.
The research was conducted at J. Lohr Structures Lab. They calculated the typical load and stress tested the bridge to simulate use over a long time frame. The amount of stress incidents the structure survived suggests that such bridges can last for decades.
The bridge they tested was donated by Gruen-Wald Engineered Laminates of Tea. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the South Dakota Department of Transportation worked together as co-sponsors.
Such bridges take less time to build than other alternatives. This is beneficial to the community by keeping road closures to a minimum. As we've seen with Big Sur fires or the slide that took out the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, getting a community back and thriving depend, on speed and cost. For smaller roads and private residences these glulam bridges may one day have their day.
This type of bridge also fits in well with the aesthetic of Carmel Valley homes for sale and the neighborhoods and townships in which they exist. They are attractive wood bridges that go well with the laid back, down to earth atmosphere of the area.
Glulam are great for people who are concerned about the environment. Glulams utilize all different sizes of smaller lumber in their construction. It keeps the benefits of being customizable. The layers can be tailored to the performance needs of the projects, making it more reliable, more consistent and stronger than natural wood beams. However, wood treatments have changed and are much more environmentally friendly than they once were.
Such bridges are substantially cheaper than conventional bridges. In some cases, the cost of construction can be only half to three quarters of the typical cost of building a bridge in the same spot. They can also be built in a single day. They do not require special equipment, nor special training, to build.
The researchers concluded that these bridges are low cost, structurally viable and durable while also being sustainable, green and eco-friendly. They have the added benefit of being relatively quick and easy to install.
Such bridges can span a space of up to 80 feet. The test bridge was 9.5 feet wide and 50 feet long. This approximates a one lane country bridge. It was made from three glulam girders and 13 deck panels. The design was intended to meet the standards of the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) HL-93 truck load.
It was stressed with 32,000 pounds-force at the rate of one load per second. This allowed them to simulate decades of normal wear and tear in a much shorter period of time. They concluded that this design meets the AASHTO specs and can readily be serve low traffic areas, such as county or township roads.
One thing the study did not consider is the character of the neighborhood, but it is something builders will want to consider. This type of timber bridge is not only eco friendly, it looks the part of being an old fashioned bridge that fits the character of the area.
This gives you the best of both worlds. It is modern, engineered glulam wood construction, superior to the materials used back in the day. Yet, it looks similar to historic wood bridges. This allows a neighborhood to meet a number of potentially conflicting standards.
This is good news for builders and locals. It isn't necessary to decide which you value most and pick the solution that meets that criteria. You don't have to choose between aesthetics, good engineering, or eco friendly design.
You can build a bridge that meets all those standards. Furthermore, it does it while bringing costs down and reducing the amount of time a road is closed while installing or upgrading the local bridge. It's a win/win/win scenario.