Sooner or later, many golf courses will face a costly problem: bridge deterioration. The typical life cycle for wood or steel bridges is 10 to 20 years, according to GatorBridge Regional Manager David Metivier.
"Eventually, wood will always rot and steel will always rust," he says in conversations with golf course superintendents and head greens keepers. Aluminum bridges, on the other hand, will last for decades, even in sea-water environments.
One of Metivier's new customers is Vero Beach Country Club in Vero Beach, Florida. Last winter, safety concerns led the club to shut down two rusted, 20-year-old steel bridges over a salt-water canal on the golf course. Until replacement bridges could be sourced, built and installed, golf carts and light maintenance vehicles were diverted to a bridge about 200 yards, where they had to dodge automobile traffic.
GatorBridge was chosen to design and deliver one bridge, which would span 86 feet and have an outrigger to support utility and irrigation pipes. With aluminum's superior strength-to-weight advantage, the completed bridge weighed in at only 15,000 pounds, less than half the weight of an equivalent steel bridge.
Light weight, Metivier noted, enabled Gator to pre-assemble the bridge at the factory and deliver it on one truck to the site. In addition, lighter cranes could be used for installation, thereby avoiding damage to the manicured grounds.
According to the contractor's general manager, Robert Paugh, "Everything fit perfectly and the installation went extremely fast." A crane set the bridge into the existing footings in less than 30 minutes, and by day's end, work on the utility and irrigation pipes was finished, too.
Oh, did we mention cost? Definitely "under par"! By selecting GatorBridge for the project instead of a steel or wood alternative, Vero Beach Country Club saved at least 30% in the total installation cost. And that's before taking into account the ongoing maintenance costs, where aluminum always excels.
Last week, GatorBridge received solid evidence of the customer's satisfaction: an order for the second bridge, which will be fabricated and installed in eight weeks or less.
Coming soon: More case histories in Round 2: What Makes Aluminum Awesome for Golf Course Bridges?