Using 3D bridge modeling to enhance project results

Posted in: Bridges, Transportation


Midas-View-2_body-300x150Since the origins of architecture and engineering, designers have made replicates of their projects using a variety of materials to give a physical presentation of their end product. More recently, computer images have given us an even more realistic view of bridges or buildings. However, that is the basic extent of their usefulness. Pictures are worth a thousand words, but unfortunately they don’t design bridges.

Recently, Mead & Hunt purchased Midas Civil, a state-of-the-art 3D Finite Element Analysis engineering software for bridge design. Now, not only can a 3D model of the entire bridge be created, but we can also see a full analysis of the superstructure and substructure, including their interaction together and their combined interaction with the foundations and soil. We are no longer bound by estimates or assumptions when interpreting 2D analysis for complex structures or geometries.

Mead & Hunt used Midas Civil for our I-85/I-385 Interchange Rehabilitation Design-Build project in Greenville, South Carolina. As the third-largest design-build project in the state, having additional means to work through our designs is crucial for a project of this magnitude. We used Midas to create models for seismic design and to verify the superstructure located on a severe skew angle for our four assigned bridges. Midas gives us the ability to affirm our 2D analysis and assumptions are correct while also giving a visual representation of what the design will look like when completed.

While 3D bridge modeling isn’t a new technology, it has only recently seen a swell in popularity among small- and mid-sized engineering firms due to advances in technology as well as decreasing user costs. Mead & Hunt is proud to be among the first of these to use this technology on our bridge projects in South Carolina. It is a powerful software with many different capabilities, allowing us to deliver quality in our designs and accomplish more complex projects.


Tony Steffee, PE

About the Author

Tony Steffee, P.E., has more than 17 years of experience providing project management, structural design and evaluation services. He has inspected the structural integrity of both buildings and bridges alike. As a Safety Assessment Program evaluator, Tony will apply his leadership experience and volunteer when disaster strikes, helping those in need. His experience in the engineering industry will be an invaluable asset during his SAP assessments in South Carolina.

Read more posts by Tony Steffee, PE

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