Types of Heavy Construction Equipment Used in Building Bridges

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Bridge construction not only requires skilled engineering but also special construction machinery. The type of equipment used depends on the scope of the project as more sophisticated construction vehicles may be required in larger projects. While there are many types of construction tools used for various purposes, some may only be needed for one specific job. Moreover, there is also a wide variety of options to choose from as the market offers both new and used machines used for construction

So, how do they build bridges over water? We will dive into all the details of it in this blog

Some of the common names of heavy equipment we hear are bridge crane, excavators, floating crane etc. and we will discuss each in detail.

Bridge Crane / Overhead Crane

The core function of a bridge crane is to fix or build a bridge. It is mostly used when structuring the pillars of a bridge before putting the slabs in place. In particular, the bridge crane is very useful in the construction of larger bridges where other types of equipment may have limited use.


An excavator is mostly used in the initial phase of bridge construction. This is because it is useful when it comes to removing dirt, rocks, or other debris that may be found at the base of the bridge. Although it may have limited use once the construction of the bridge is underway, it can still be used to transport dirt or rubble as the project continues.

Floating Crane

Also known as a crane vessel, a floating crane is a type of specialised ship that has a crane mounted onto it. While floating cranes are frequently used during bridge construction, they can also be used in loading or offloading loads from a ship. With the bigger cranes usually fitted with a lifting capacity of over 10,000 tonnes, some crane barges can transport an entire bridge in sections. In addition to this, crane vessels can be mounted onto the deck of a ship by fitting them on a swing base which can rotate.

Gantry Crane

A gantry crane is one of the many types of heavy machinery used at shipyards, scrap yards, and during bridge construction. Gantry cranes come in different designs to suit different needs, and some of the biggest gantry cranes are capable of lifting the world’s heaviest loads. Though gantry cranes have a similar design to bridge cranes, their main distinctive factor is their mode of mobility. Here are some of the various types of gantry cranes:

• Adjustable gantries
• Portable gantries
• Semi-gantries
• Full gantries

Hydraulic bridge Construction Equipment

Compared to other tools, hydraulic bridge construction equipment helps make hoisting and positioning bridge components easier and safer. They may also contribute significantly to important maintenance and demolition projects.

Hydraulic Torque Wrenches

Hydraulic torque wrenches and tensioners are crucial tools in bridge construction, providing precise torque for the final installation of precast spans and steel box beams. These tools are also helpful in demolition by efficiently loosening bolted connections between bridge sections.


SyncHoist is a crane attachment used for accurately adjusting and aligning bridge sections during installation. It eliminates the need for using two separate cranes, making the process more efficient and safer.

Low-Height Hydraulic Cylinders

Low-height hydraulic cylinders are ideal for lifting large bridge spans and replacing bearings and other components. Despite their small size, these powerful tools can fit into small openings underneath the bridge structure.

Bar and Cable Cutters

Bar and cable cutters are essential for removing obstructions that may impede inspection and repair work. Compared to other cutting methods, they offer a significant safety advantage as they can quickly cut through various materials without producing sparks or flying debris


Constructing a bridge is a complex process that requires careful planning, skilled engineering, and the use of specialized heavy construction equipment. The types of construction equipment that are used depend on the scope and scale of the project, but some common heavy machinery names include bridge cranes, excavators, floating cranes, gantry cranes, and hydraulic construction equipment such as torque wrenches, SyncHoist, low-height hydraulic cylinders, and bar and cable cutters. These bridge building machines not only make the construction process more efficient and safer but also play a critical role in important maintenance and demolition projects. As technology advances, new types of construction equipment are likely to emerge, further improving the construction process and ensuring the safety and durability of bridges around the world.

To find out more about these pieces of equipment, or used construction equipment for sale, contact the team at MY Equipment today.

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