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What Are the Top Bridge Design Software?

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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco (This work is licensed under the Pexels License. No changes have been made.)

Every major bridge is developed with the public’s money. Hence, bridges must be safe, economical and efficient. Part of this comes down to the bridge design software.

Introduction

Designing a bridge may seem simple at first glance, but many engineering problems need to be overcome, especially regarding the supports and the span.

There are six basic forms of bridges:

  • Cantilever

  • Truss

  • Beam

  • Cable-stay

  • Suspension

  • Arch

Suspension bridge
The famous Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, UK, completed in 1864

Common materials used in bridge design include:

  • Iron

  • Steel

  • Asphalt

  • Rubber

  • Concrete

  • Aluminium

  • Stone

  • Wood

Whichever type of bridge you plan to design, with whatever materials, the bridge construction software will be a crucial part of it.

Impact of Bridge Infrastructure

Bridge infrastructure is one of the necessary components of a healthy economy. Poor infrastructure can lead to reduced business activity, which further leads to decreases in tax revenue.

Furthermore, bridge engineering helps people to remain connected not just with business partners, but also with family and friends. The tangible and intangible benefits help in laying a foundation for a flourishing society.

  • Good bridge infrastructure permits the transfer of finished goods and raw materials to suppliers, warehouses, stores, factories, consumers and distributors.

  • It also facilitates travel, which allows people to purchase services and goods outside their communities.

  • On a similar note, it improves cash flow when it joins two places that economically complement each other.

Bridges that are structurally deficient could be closed without notice or lead to higher insurance premiums and expensive lawsuits. Hence, agencies have prioritized funding bridge rehabilitation and maintenance projects to minimize the chances of this happening.

Top 6 Bridge Design Software

1. MIDAS Civil

This is a great option meant specifically for bridge design professionals for bridge design and analysis.

It has a fast solver and powerful pre- and post-processing features. Furthermore, it boasts easy parameter modification tools that can be utilized for parametric analysis.

  • Post-processor automatically creates load combinations for various design standards.

  • Its tools are well suited to large-scale projects.

  • Multiple analysis options.

  • Wizards make it easier to develop models and create plans for construction staging.

  • Easy and quick imports of reports into other software, such as Microsoft Word and Excel.

  • User-friendly interface without much ramp-up time.

Pricing: Available on request 

2. CSI Bridge

Do you need to design, model and analyze many different types of bridges? CSI Bridge is for you.

  • Suitable for both complex and simple designs.

  • Parallelization options available for multiple processors.

  • Flexible modeling properties.

  • Bridge Wizard tool can guide you through creation of a complete bridge model.

  • Automation to improve accuracy and efficiency.

  • Reporting and scheduling capabilities.

  • Easy exports of data into other software such as Microsoft Word and Excel.

Pricing: $9,000 for license, $1,575 for annual MNT (standalone license); $11,700 for license, $2,045 for annual MNT (network/cloud license)

3. RISA

RISA is a powerful software package that is ideal for complex projects where precision is important and there are many different materials.

There are several options available in the package, including RISA-3D (versatile, for any structure), RISA Foundation (for foundation elements), and RISA Calc (for structural design).

  • Good for analysis.

  • User-friendly interface.

  • Free trial available.

Pricing: Depends on option

4. AutoCAD

A classic design software that deserves its solid reputation. Like RISA, it is not specifically meant for bridges, but AutoCAD is a great overall choice. From basic bridges to iconic structures, AutoCAD is capable of pretty much all of it.

  • Easy to share designs with stakeholders and teammates.

  • Intuitive interface.

  • Can customize with APIs and add-on apps.

  • Capability of evaluating project performance.

  • Regular updates.

  • Free trial available.

Pricing: $220/month, $1,775/year

5. STAAD Pro 

Like RISA, STAAD Pro is known for design precision. If efficiency is your mantra, then this software may be for you.

There are three flexible Pro options: STAAD.Pro, STAAD.Pro Advanced and Structural WorkSuite.

  • Fast and comprehensive analysis for any type of structure.

  • Simplifies BIM workflow.

  • Over 90 international design codes.

  • Can run design alternatives parallel to STAAD’s cloud services.

  • Can design for high-seismic regions.

  • Relatively easy to use.

  • Since the company produces CAM/CAD solutions, you can leverage its other software for integrated projects.

Pricing: Available on request 

6. Autodesk 

Autodesk Structural Bridge Design is an analysis software for small to medium projects.

  • Analyze tour designs and design structures in one place.

  • Multiple analysis methods.

  • Girder design.

  • Design calculation reports.

  • Free trial available.

Pricing: $390/month, $3,115/year, $8,410/3 years 

Reviewing Your Bridge Design

If you have designed your bridge and would like to review it in a 3D environment, Navisworks is a good software to use. You’ll be able to view your design from different perspectives, import all file formats, and merge all utilities.

PC Specifications For Bridge Design Software

You can choose the most powerful bridge design software there is, but if your PC can’t handle it, it will be of no use. Here are some minimum specifications: 

  • Memory: 8 GB

  • OS: 64-bit OS

  • Display: 1920 x 1080 resolution with True Color

  • Processor: 2.5 GHz

  • Disk Space: 7.0 GB

Conclusion

Is there another bridge design software you think deserves to be on this list? Let us know what you think in the comments!

No matter your project, it will be incomplete without architectural construction drawings. If you’re in need of those, BluEntCAD is just a click away. We serve architectural and engineering companies, homebuilders, real estate developers, and custom home designers for large to medium infrastructural, commercial and residential projects.

Ready to make your bridge engineering project a success with construction documentation servicesContact us now!

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