Monday, April 28, 2014

The Incredible InfraWorks Bridge Design Module

Over the past few months I have spent a lot of time learning about the InfraWorks core tools and the Roadway Design tools.  Only recently have I really dove into Bridge Design and I gotta say, this is some impressive software.  If you haven't tested out Bridge Design yet, be sure to download the trial and give it a run.  By the way, the trial version of InfraWorks 360 2015 comes with a 30-day trial of Roadway Design and Bridge Design.

This module makes bridge design almost too easy.  You literally click Add Bridge and pick two points to start and end the bridge - and there it is, in full glory.

And this isn't just a pretty picture, this bridge has actual structural components such as a deck, girders, and piers, right down to the bearings.

It gets better: these components aren't just there, they are sized according to common structural engineering principles and practices.  So what you get isn't some sad attempt at a bridge - it's a darn good approximation of the type, configuration, and component sizes that could work in the scenario you're looking at. Of course it's not a fully designed bridge, but then again, it only took you literally seconds to create.
This is starting to sound like a ShamWow commercial, but wait!...there's more!  The bridge is a parametric model which means you can make changes and the model will update.  For example, if you delete one of the piers, InfraWorks will recalculate the girder sizes and make them bigger if the span requires it.  Are you kidding me?

There is a ton more to talk about but I want you to go and find that out on your own.

Even if you're not a bridge designer, if you have any appreciation whatsoever for amazing technology, you have to try building and tweaking a few bridges with this software.  It's amazing what you can do in such a short time, and again, it's not just for looks, this is a true preliminary engineering design that produces a model with components and values that can actually be useful in detailed design.

If you're still not convinced, watch this video - and if you're not downloading the trial before the video's even over, well - you must already have it installed :)


  1. I can't say that I'm impressed. Not with all the flavors, I mean. Remember when Autodesk offered AutoCAD Civil and AutoCAD Civil 3D. Well that was a dumb idea, and good riddance to that. How many different products and suites is Autodesk planning to confuse civil engineers with, (and IT departments and upper management couldn't care less)? Keep It Simple Stupid, simple for upper management, IT and the civil engineers in the trenches.
    Thank you

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