A Computer-Aided Conceptual Cost Estimating System for Pre-Stressed Concrete Road Bridges

A Computer-Aided Conceptual Cost Estimating System for Pre-Stressed Concrete Road Bridges

Nikolaos Fragkakis (National Technical University of Athens, Greece), Sergios Lambropoulos (National Technical University of Athens, Greece) and John-Paris Pantouvakis (National Technical University of Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9619-8.ch024


The need for an environmentally friendly design of modern motorways increases the construction of bridges, which has exhibited substantial overruns above estimated costs. Therefore, easy to use, inexpensive and accurate methods for conceptual cost estimating are needed. This paper presents a computer-aided cost estimating system for pre-stressed concrete road bridges that provides estimates of the material quantities and cost of all bridge elements. It relies on a database incorporating actual data collected from recently constructed bridges and exploits material estimating models developed with statistical analysis. Different configurations are devised from short to long-span bridges, accounting for the major deck construction methods and foundation systems. The system can be easily used to provide different cost estimates to the owner, designer and contractor during the project's early stages. By allowing reliable cost estimates in a short time, the proposed computer-aided system represents a useful decision making tool.
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Previous Relevant Cost Studies And Research

Cost estimating systems for motorway bridges are very limited, due to the difficulty of acquiring actual cost and structural information for completed projects. Most research efforts address the lack of actual data with computer-intensive theoretical resolutions that optimize the final design through a trial and error process. They concentrate mostly on the bridge superstructure in order to eliminate site-dependent factors and optimize its design conforming to specific specifications and using standard shapes and cross sections. The algorithms produce material estimates that lead to cost estimates after applying the proper unit prices.

Several research studies address the optimization of pre-stressed concrete road bridges’ superstructures. Lounis and Cohn (1993) identified three levels of optimization, i.e. the component, the configuration and the system. Even though the economic impact increases with higher levels, few research efforts address the optimization of the overall features of the bridge system.

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