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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


The Economics of the Introduction of Modern Timber Bridges in Virginia
Jose P. Gomez
Wallace T. McKeel, Jr.
Year: 1996
VTRC No.: 97-IR2
Abstract: In 1990, the Virginia Assembly established a commission to propose recommendations to enhance the economic development of the southside region of the Commonwealth. The commission's 1991 report, House Document 42, included a recommendation for a timber bridge initiative to replace Virginia's structurally deficient bridges. The commission noted that timber bridges could save highway construction funds and stimulate the forest products industry in southside Virginia. This report addresses some of the economic issues. The long-term performance, and thus the life cycle cost competitiveness, of timber bridges cannot be determined at this time. However, timber bridges are not economically competitive from a cost standpoint. The economic viability of timber bridges is adversely affected by the lack of an industry presence in Virginia. This lack also casts doubt on the ability of the Virginia timber bridge initiative to enhance the economic development in the southside region of the Commonwealth.