InfrastructureSustaining bridge infrastructure through Bridge Information Modeling

Published 22 April 2008

Bentley offers end-to-end bridge solution which will allow bridge engineers to create and renovate bridge infrastructure

Are you into bridges? Read on. Thousands of U.S. bridges — to be precise, about 150,000 of the U.S. 600,000 bridges — are in various stages of disrepair. Monitoring the life and health of bridges is important to avoid catstrophic disasters, and Exton, Pensylvania-based Bentley Systems a couple of weeks ago announced a strategic initiative to deliver Bridge Information Modeling (BrIM) technology for the entire bridge lifecycle. A new business unit, Bentley BrIM, will drive the initiative under the leadership of Bentley senior vice president Gabe Norona. Bentley BrIM will provide access to newly acquired advanced bridge products in Bentley’s software portfolio. In addition, it will integrate these and other related Bentley products to provide an interoperable, data-managed bridge solution for planning, design, engineering, analysis, fabrication, construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation of bridges. The company says that this end-to-end solution will enable the transportation industry efficiently and effectively to address the challenges of new and aging bridges and deliver sustainable, long-lasting infrastructure.

CEO Greg Bentley said, “Growing demand for new bridges in developing economies and aging bridges in developed economies are behind burgeoning workloads and mounting backlogs for bridge engineers around the world. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in the United States alone, more than a quarter of the nation’s almost 600,000 bridges are deficient, and more than $65 billion could be invested immediately in a cost-beneficial way to replace or otherwise address existing bridge deficiencies. Having the world’s largest team of software developers dedicated to BrIM, Bentley is uniquely positioned to help engineers meet this demand.” Gabe Norona added, “Bentley’s BrIM initiative will focus on new approaches to bridge project delivery and bridge sustainability. By closing the gaps in traditional bridge lifecycle processes and facilitating the flow of digital information between the various stages, BrIM will enable bridge designers, builders, and owner-operators to easily share a common bridge information model. This will help optimize design decisions and lead to process innovation, largely through information reuse.”

Bentley has extended its commitment to sustaining bridge infrastructure through the acquisition of TDV GmbH, LEAP Software, and C. W. Beilfuss & Associates — all leading bridge engineering and operations technology providers. These additions to Bentley’s portfolio result in an impressive offering of bridge software available to the infrastructure community:

  • Bentley Bridge RM — structural engineering, design, and analysis software used worldwide for large and medium span bridges, including cable-stayed bridges. With its wide range of international design codes, RM offers highly intensive, specialized engineering for bridges of all types.
  • Bentley LEAP Bridge — a parametric, integrated design and analysis solution for pre-cast, cast-in-place, reinforced, and post-tensioned concrete, an industry standard in place at thirty-eight U.S. state departments of transportation (DOTs), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), city and county agencies, and engineering consultancies.
  • Bentley BridgeModeler and Bentley LARS — companion products for bridge load-rating, analysis, and analytical modeling for existing and planned bridges offering conformance with the latest AASHTO bridge design specifications and interface to the AASHTO BRIDGEWare database.
  • Bentley SUPERLOAD — for advanced oversize/overweight vehicle permitting and routing that takes full account of bridge load-rating and analysis data.

Bentley BrIM aims to establish intra-operability among these products as well as other Bentley products relevant to bridge projects, including Bentley Rebar, GEOPAK Bridge, InRoads Bridge, and ProjectWise. The company says that bridge professionals will benefit from streamlined workflows, increased productivity, and the ability to more effectively operate and manage bridge infrastructure.

One more word about BrIM:

Anybody who is somebody in the bridge industry will be attending the BE Conference 2008, which will be held 28-30 May in Baltimore, Maryland. e note that included in the program will be a special BrIM track that will bring together influential bridge owner-operators, policy makers, engineering consultants, and contractors to explore new technology, new methods of project delivery, and the influence of bridge information modeling. The discussions will go beyond design to problems ranging from maintenance of traffic to constructability and risk mitigation.

Bentley Systems’s revenues now surpass $400 million annually, and has more than 2,400 colleagues globally. Bentley was named the world’s No. 2 provider of GIS/geospatial software solutions in a Daratech research study.