Bridges and other construction infrastructure projects are becoming more complex. In order to design and construct these structures, contractors are quickly discovering technology is needed for accuracy and to identify constructability issues.

One recent example is the Pickering GO Station pedestrian bridge in Pickering, Ont., which is scheduled for completion in August of this year. The fully enclosed bridge spans more than 200 meters with a series of linked steel trusses, a concrete floor, and membrane roofing on a steel deck.

As far as specialty systems go, while this particular structure is not heated or cooled by mechanical means, it is designed for passive ventilation and will feature special lighting to illuminate it at night. It also has elevators at each end of the bridge.

AECOM Technology Corp., www.aecom.com, Los Angeles, Calif., the company responsible for design on the project, is building the bridge using BIM (building information modeling).

The software helps to design the shape of the bridge and ensure accuracy in the structure. But the BIM process also addresses several other challenges for AECOM, namely scheduling matters including meeting a tight deadline and managing construction on one of the busiest highways while still allowing for full accessibility.

BIM not only helps identify constructability issues, but also simulates sequencing to attain the proper permits and approvals. It is also critical in allowing AECOM to communicate with trades and enable IPD (integrated project design) methods on the project.

Traditional uses of BIM software include laying out complex structures and identifying conflicts early in the project. While this is critical in helping design and construct infrastructure projects such as the Pickering GO Station pedestrian bridge, being able to use the technology for more than just constructability is where construction teams can gain a competitive edge.