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April 5, 2019

Steel in the Philippines: A Feature on Roadwork

How is steel used in roadwork?

  1. Supportive structures
  2. Steel bridges
  3. Steel slabs


No country would be complete without the roads that connect and keep it together. Traveling by car is essentially done exclusively on roads. But as every road worker knows in the Philippines, steel isn’t exactly used in the making of roads. Rather you use a selection of different minerals, rocks, and soils in order to create layers of support for the main road at the very top. With that being said, steel is used more as supportive structures—from fences that prevent a vehicle from going out of bounds to simple signage and road markers.

But more importantly, steel is used in the creation of bridges—roadwork that connects places over bodies of water or over other roads. Complex interchanges that rise above the highway are supported by steel materials, such as steel bars and angle bars. In the Philippines, steel is the primary component of long bridges that need extra strength and flexibility. And steel shows just how good it is as a construction material by supporting heavy duty bridges no matter how heavy the traffic that passes through it.

Steel might not be the primary material used in roads, but recent studies have shown that steel is becoming a staple in some road construction projects all over the world! Ergo, here are the most widely known applications of steel when it comes to roadwork.


Supportive Structures

Supportive Structures

In a world where roads are primarily constructed with minerals, soils, and rocks, you would think that steel might be a better option, but the truth is, as of the moment, steel is not even close to becoming an alternative to road construction. It does its job, however, as something that supports roads, both in and out of construction.

A good example of steel being used as a support structure is, of course, as fences on the side of roads. These fences protect the people on the sidewalk from incoming traffic by showing a clear indicator of how close a vehicle can be. These steel fences are made to be incredibly durable and shock absorbent in case a vehicle would crash onto them. These steel fences will add a layer of security to people at a sidewalk and it would also prevent people from crossing the street in places they shouldn’t. Beneficial for both the vehicles on the road and the people on it.

Aside from steel fences, steel is used famously as signposts. In highways and normal country roads, these signposts are important in relaying significant information regarding driving rules and highway limits. Most of the time, steel pillars are what supports traffic lights all over cities.

The award for the best and most practical material for roads is asphalt, but there’s nothing that’s preventing steel from getting the honor of being the most supportive material there is.


Steel Bridges

You can’t lay asphalt in places where there’s no ground to work with. That being said, roads that are to be made overhead (a.k.a. bridges) would need something that will let it cross long distances. In that regard, steel is your go-to material! Over the years, steel has already become the primary material for bridges. Structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge are famous for being almost completely made of steel and surviving so many calamities and forces of nature because of it.

Steel bridges are scattered all across the Philippines. They connect islands and make mountains a lot more traversable. Even when you see a bridge that is primarily made of concrete, you’ll be sure to realize that the main supporting structure that it has is made of steel.

In the Philippines, angle bars and a ton of interconnected steel bars are the primary steel products used in order to support these structures. Bridges in the mountains on the roads going to Baguio are filled with tiny bridges that have removed the thought of applying asphalt to increase the structures’ stability and lessen the weight of these bridges.


Steel Slabs

Steel Slabs

Combining the best characteristics of steel and concrete has enabled engineers to construct bridges that have a low structural height -something that wasn’t applicable when you only use steel as a primary material. Made from steel slabs that are covered with high-quality concrete, this will result in a very versatile and easy-to-use material that is set for fast construction. Because of this, bridges can be installed quick and fast, potentially applying a recreation of a small bridge within days.

When it comes to short and simple bridges, these steel slabs are the best material because these bring about the perks of needing low structural height, fast construction qualities, and versatility in design. Although it won’t have the durability that big, they are the best option that contractors have in urban applications.


Key Takeaway

Roadwork is a construction project that lets steel move to the wayside and let asphalt and concrete take the spotlight. With that being said, the role of steel here is to provide an extremely stable and durable support structure, a very important aspect particularly for bridges and overpasses.

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