NSBA/Modjeski and Masters Release Guide to Uncoated Weathering Steel: the Ultimate Economical, Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Fast Bridge Material
CHICAGO – Since the 1960s, Departments of Transportation around the country have taken advantage of a remarkably sustainable, efficient, economical building material: uncoated weathering steel, or UWS.
The new Uncoated Weathering Steel Reference Guide, developed by Modjeski and Masters, offers bridge designers and owners everything they need to take full advantage of this efficient and low-maintenance corrosion protection system, from design to detailing to fabrication to construction to inspection and beyond.
“This guide will provide much-needed support for owners and designers alike on the use of weathering steel, in particular on the suitability of the use of weathering steel at a specific bridge site,” said Thomas Murphy, PE, SE, PhD, senior vice president and director of the national bridge group, CTO, and Board Chair at Modjeski and Masters.
UWS offers all the benefits of structural steel, without some of the downsides of an applied coating. Simply put, it’s the most economical and efficient corrosion protection system for steel bridges.
“Everyone is looking for materials with a proven track record of great corrosion protection while reducing maintenance costs and protecting the environment,” said National Steel Bridge Alliance Senior Director of Market Development Jeff Carlson, PE. “But not everyone knows that uncoated weathering steel has done just that in a variety of climates across the country since the 1960s. No other structural material can match what UWS offers.”
Its main benefit is reduced cost, both for initial fabrication and construction costs as well as long-term maintenance costs. A properly designed and detailed UWS bridge boasts a service life of up to 120 years with minimal maintenance–up to 30% less than the life-cycle cost of a painted system.
But UWS also offers faster fabrication, broader aesthetic opportunities, and a smaller environmental footprint than other coating systems.
UWS is a high-strength, low-alloy steel that forms a patina during its initial exposure to the elements. The patina is essentially an oxide film of corrosion by-products about the same thickness as a heavy coat of paint.
The guide is available as a free download at aisc.org/uwsguide.
About the Need for Speed Initiative
The new guide is part of the American Institute of Steel Construction’s Need for Speed initiative, which set out to increase the speed at which a steel project (building or bridge) can be designed, fabricated, and erected by 50% by the end of 2025.
Additional Need for Speed bridge-focused projects include the new Accelerated Steel: Achieving Speed in Steel Bridge Fabrication guide and a forthcoming set of standard designs for straight steel I-girder bridges.
Find out more at aisc.org/needforspeed or in the December issue of Modern Steel Construction.
About the American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-partisan, not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, market development, and advocacy. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information.