To the Editor:
I recently read with
great interest your articles about New Yorks Metropolitan
Transportation Authoritys (MTAs) decision to allow
a Chinese fabricated steel orthotropic deck system for the
The Bridge Grid
Flooring Manufacturers Association (BGFMA) agrees with the
statements made by the American Iron and Steel Institutes
Thomas Gibson, as well as various lawmakers (
amm.com, June 26). Although we understand the
benefits of steel orthotropic deck systems, we also realize
that these deck systems are very expensive to manufacture here
in the United States, which leads to overseas fabrication.
to us is the fact that the existing deck on the
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a steel grid reinforced concrete
deck that is nearly 50 years old and still in service.
New, modern steel grid
deck systems can be designed even lighter and more durable than
ones of the past. With this said, we believe that a new
American designed and manufactured steel grid reinforced
concrete deck was a viable alternative to the more expensive
and foreign manufactured steel orthotropic deck currently
specified. Unfortunately, this option wasnt selected in
the preliminary stages of design.
Steel grid reinforced
concrete decks have been an economical choice for long span
bridges, where weight reduction has been a concern for many
years. Just a few years ago on the Walt Whitman Bridge in
Philadelphia, Aecom Technology Corp. designed a new steel grid
deck filled with lightweight concrete to be a "floating deck"
system that eliminated more than two dozen expansion joints.
This redecking project is in the final stage of construction
and will be completed within the next few months.
It is frustrating to
the BGFMA, and more importantly our fabricating members, that
steel grid decks are sometimes overlooked in favor of foreign
supplied steel orthotropic decks. Unfortunately, history is
likely to be repeated since the MTA is now in the early stages
of design for an orthotropic deck system for the Throgs Neck
Bridge in New York City.
Bridge Grid Flooring Manufacturers