Now, this is a question with a span of answers wider than the Grand Canyon. A bridge can be a very small construction over a small waterbody in your locale or it can simply be a pedestrian bridge. A bridge can also be a multi-billion-dollar construction by a government.
Well, you get the idea. So, to answer this question, we need to go through different tangents. At first, we need to get an idea about bridge construction costs. We also need to look at different examples to get our heads around this matter.
Now, we will use some engineering jargon in the article that might sound difficult. But don’t worry, we have to answer them for the sake of the question. The cost of bridge construction should be easy and clear to determine based upon different factors.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Bridge?
The total construction cost of a bridge will depend on the type and size of construction. A small and simple pedestrian bridge costs $250,000 on average, according to 2022 data. Let’s say, a bridge will be built on a highway. This construction can cost you anywhere from 1 million dollars to 5 million dollars.
Now, let’s go further and see some bigger constructions. The Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco, California cost $6,400,000,000 (6.4 billion dollars). We can go farther from here and see bigger project costs.
The bridge and tunnel system connecting Macao and Hong Kong had a total construction cost of 20,000,000,000 (20 billion dollars). Now you get the idea. So, we can’t really bring the cost to a simple range.
We have to consider the type of project. Sometimes the site condition causes the construction cost to go higher and higher. Then the actual size of the project. This influences the cost the most. This is clear from the above examples. Now, we’ve made the concept clear.
Bridge Construction Cost Summary
Considering the following estimate, the construction costs of a bridge are as follows:
|Average Construction Cost||$250,000|
|Highway Bridge Cost||$10,00,000- $50,00,000|
|Total Bridge Construction Cost||$20,000,000,000|
Some bridge cost estimates are provided below according to the United States Forest Service,
For spans up to 40 feet:
|Lane Type||Cost Per Linear Foot|
For spans larger than 40 feet:
|Lane Type||Cost Per Linear Foot|
- Price will increase $100/lf for bridge rail. For approach guardrail constructions another $10,000 has to be added.
- If there is higher scour potential, deep piling or deep spread footing is needed. In this case, $30,000 should be added for single lane bridges and $40,000 should be added for double lane bridges.
- Another 15% has to be added for A/E design costs i.e., site survey, preliminary report, final design, etc.
Let’s break down the costs into more detail and learn about different technicalities that influence a bridge cost.
Important Cost Factors of Bridge Construction 2022
We can break down the cost factors into two types according to some general guidelines. These guidelines are provided by the state of California. These can be used to develop preliminary estimates.
After a detailed inspection is done and more information is gathered, the actual project cost can be assessed. The two actors are,
- Factors for Lower End of Cost Range.
- Factors for Higher End of Cost Range.
Let’s see detailed descriptions of both the factors. I’ll try to provide bite-sized information. So, stay with me on this one.
Factors for Lower End of Cost Range
Here are some factors to consider when estimating the lower end of the cost range
- Short spans.
- Low structure height.
- No environmental constraints.
- Large project and no aesthetic issue.
- Dry condition.
- No bridges skew.
- Urban location.
- Seat abutment.
- Spread footing and,
- No stage construction.
Factors for Higher End of Cost Range
When estimating higher-end ranges of costs, you should consider the following factors
- Long spans.
- High structure height.
- Environmental constraints.
- Small projects.
- Aesthetic issue.
- Cofferdam is required for wet conditions.
- Skewed bridges.
- Remote location.
- Cantilever abutment.
- Large diameter piling and,
- Two-stage construction.
Some factors that influence the cost to go up 25%-150% more than the high end of the cost range. These factors are given below:
|Structure Section||Cost per square feet|
|BULB TEE GIRDER||$120-$300|
|WIDE FLANGE GIRDER||$140-$250|
|STRUCT STEEL I GIRDER||$250-$500|
Common types of bridges
We’ve seen many different types of bridges in our lifetime. Every bridge is different from another. They vary in design, size, and other structural sections. So, the total cost of a bridge depends on these various factors. Still depending on technicalities, we can classify bridges into different types.
- Arch Bridge.
- Footpath Bridges.
- Extra Dosed Bridges.
- Composite Bridges.
- Cable-Stayed Bridges.
- Suspension Bridges.
- Cantilever Bridges.
Some of the world’s most expensive bridges in 2022
I’ve tried to explain every possible cost aspect of bridge construction. This was a detailed explanation of the inherent technicalities associated with the construction of such structures. It is hard for a layman to grasp this. But still, we tried to give you bite-sized information.
Now, we can look at different bridges build around the world. Bridges are engineering wonders at times. They often turn into historical, tourist sites. For example, The London bridge can be named. Let’s look at different bridges and their costs.
Hopefully, this information will be helpful to your endeavor.
Golden Gate Bridge, USA
This iconic bridge is in San Francisco. This was named golden gate as the city was turning into a golden city at that time in terms of trade and commerce. The total span of the bridge is 4,200 feet or 1.28 kilometers. The total cost of the bridge was equivalent to $704.9 million in our time.
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, USA
This bridge is located over the cooper river in South Carolina. This has a rare history. This mega project was completed ahead of its schedule. The span of the bridge is 1,546 feet or 471 meters. The total cost of construction was equivalent to $900 million in our time.
George Washington Bridge, USA
This is the world’s busiest bridge. It supports nearly 102 million vehicles every year. This bridge connects Manhattan and New Jersey. This bridge cost equivalent to $935 million in our time.
Confederation Bridge, Canada
This is the longest bridge in the world connecting two cities. The whole bridge stands on ice water. It connects Prince Edward Island with South Brunswick. This bridge cost equivalent to $971 million in our time.
Russky Bridge, Russia
This bridge is located in Vladivostok, Russia. This is the longest cable bridge in the world. This has a span of 1.16 miles or 1.87 kilometers. This is a famous tourist spot for Russia. The bridge is not very busy with cars. The total cost of this bridge was $1.1 billion.
Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge, Malaysia
This is also known as Penang Second Bridge. This bridge has a span of 15 miles or 24 kilometers. This is also the largest bridge in Asia. This bridge cost $1.1 billion of today’s currency.
Tsing Ma Bridge, Hong Kong
This bridge connects Hong Kong Central with Hong Kong International Airport. It has a span of 4,518 feet or 1.38 kilometers. This bridge cost $1.3 billion in today’s money.
Bang Na Expressway, Thailand
It was the world’s largest bridge until 2004, This has a span of 34 miles or 55 kilometers. The bridge cost $1.5 billion in today’s currency.
Vasco da Gama Bridge, Portugal
This is Europe’s longest working bridge. This is located over the Tagus River in Lisbon. The bridge has a span of 7.6 miles of 12.3 kilometers. The bridge cost equivalent to $1.76 billion in our times.
King Fahd Causeway, Saudi Arabia-Bahrain
This massive bridge was built to connect Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The total span of the bridge is 16 miles or 25 kilometers. This bridge cost $1.9 billion in today’s money.
The following are some of the most common questions people ask about (Bridge Construction): FAQ
How much does it cost to build a car bridge?
To build a single-lane car bridge is not that costly. It will cost nearly $120-$160 per square foot.
How much does it cost to build an overpass bridge?
Overpasses can take from $150-$250 per square foot to build.
What is the cheapest bridge to build?
The cheapest type of bridge to build is a Beam bridge. This was the first type of bridge ever built. The simplicity of the construction process also makes it the cheapest.
What is an Underpass?
There are two-stage constructions. An underpass is the lower level of such a construction.
What type of bridge is the weakest?
Beam bridges are the simplest type of bridge and also the weakest type of bridge.
What is the most stable bridge?
Truss bridges are the most stable bridge. They have a high strength-to-weight ratio.
This guide should be helpful to you in reducing the cost of bridge construction. Please share your experiences or questions below. You can read more about bridge construction, house building, and other related topics on this blog.