Construction sites are inherently busy and complex environments. Ensuring worker safety is paramount, and this extends beyond personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper training. When it comes to road construction in particular, and working on or around bridges, controlling access to the underside of the structure is crucial for preventing accidents and maintaining a secure work environment.


This is where under bridge access platforms emerge as vital pieces of equipment.


The experience of crews the last few decades has shown that under-bridge access platforms enhance construction site security for general contractors working on bridge projects. Understanding the security risks associated with traditional bridge access methods, the advantages of under  bridge platforms, and best practices for safe and secure platform operation is essential for a fuller appreciation of these vital and innovative machines.


a bridge with tall metal sides


Traditional Bridge Access and Associated Security Risks


Traditionally, accessing the underside of bridges for construction, repairs, or maintenance has relied on methods like erecting and dismantling scaffolding, which is time-consuming, expensive, and requires specialized training, posing potential safety hazards.


Another method is the use of aerial lifts or boom trucks. These large vehicles can be cumbersome to maneuver on congested sites, and their weight limitations restrict access to certain areas. In addition, they cannot be used on busy roadways, railroads, or open stretches of water.


Similar to scaffolding, rope rigging access is an older, more traditional approach to accessing bridge structures. While highly skilled rope access technicians can reach difficult areas, this method is inherently risky and requires extensive safety protocols.


In addition, these methods often present several security concerns for construction sites:

  • Unauthorized Access: Scaffolding, cranes, and boom trucks can provide easily accessible points of entry for unauthorized personnel, potentially leading to theft or vandalism.
  • Perimeter Control Challenges: The large footprints of scaffolding and snooper trucks can make it difficult to establish and maintain secure perimeters around the bridge work zone.
  • Material and Equipment Security: Open scaffolding structures and the elevated positions of snooper trucks make it easier for materials and equipment to be stolen or tampered with.
  • Worker Safety Risks: Improperly erected scaffolding or unsafe rope access techniques can lead to falls and other serious worker injuries. These incidents not only cause significant human costs but also disrupt project timelines and increase insurance premiums.


Road construction sites are inherently dangerous workplaces and present a higher risk of injury and even fatalities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for example, reports on fatal injuries to workers at road construction sites. According to the BLS, during the years from 2003 to 2020, it was reported that 2,222 workers lost their lives at road construction sites—an average of 123 per year.


According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),


“Work zones play a key role in maintaining and upgrading our Nation’s roadways. Unfortunately, daily changes in traffic patterns, narrowed rights-of-way, and other construction activities often create a combination of factors resulting in crashes, injuries, and fatalities. These crashes also cause excessive delays, especially given the constrained driving environment.”


an under bridge platform for bridge maintenance


Under Bridge Access Platforms: A Secure and Efficient Solution


Under bridge access platforms offer a secure and efficient alternative to traditional methods. These suspended platforms provide a stable work surface directly underneath the bridge, eliminating the need for scaffolding or snooper trucks. Here’s how they enhance construction site security:

  • Restricted Access: Platforms are typically accessed by designated entry points, allowing for better control over who enters the work zone under the bridge.
  • Improved Perimeter Control: Platforms have a smaller footprint compared to scaffolding or snooper trucks, simplifying the creation of secure perimeters around the work area.
  • Enhanced Material and Equipment Security: The enclosed nature of platforms provides a more secure environment for storing materials and equipment, reducing the risk of theft or damage.
  • Reduced Worker Injury Risks: The stable platform surface minimizes the risk of falls and other construction site hazards associated with traditional methods.



Best Practices for Secure Under Bridge Platform Operation


While under bridge access platforms offer inherent security advantages, proper protocols are still essential. Here are some of the most common ones typically practiced at road construction sites.


Secure Platform Access

Implement a system for controlling access to the platform that goes beyond simple key cards. Consider biometric scanners or access codes that require two-factor authentication. This ensures only authorized personnel can enter the work zone underneath the bridge, deterring unauthorized access and potential vandalism.


Perimeter Security

Maintain a secure perimeter around the bridge work zone with a combination of robust fencing, strategically placed barricades, and well-lit areas to deter potential intruders. Supplement these physical measures with strategically positioned security cameras that provide clear footage of the platform and surrounding area. Monitor camera feeds in real-time or record footage for later review, enhancing overall site security.


Material and Equipment Management

Develop a system for tracking and storing materials and equipment on the platform, ensuring a clear chain of custody. This could involve a dedicated logbook for documenting the arrival and departure of materials, along with assigned storage locations on the platform. Regular inventory checks can further ensure nothing goes missing and maintain accountability for all project materials and equipment.


Safety Training

Provide thorough training for all personnel working on the platform that goes beyond basic safety protocols. This training should encompass proper fall arrest procedures, including the use of harnesses and lifelines, as well as emergency evacuation plans specific to the platform and bridge work zone. Regular refresher training can ensure all personnel remain knowledgeable and prepared for any situation.


Regular Inspections

Conduct regular inspections of the platform and its anchoring system to ensure they are in proper working order. These inspections should be performed by qualified personnel in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and relevant safety regulations. Documenting these inspections and addressing any identified issues promptly helps to maintain the platform’s structural integrity and overall safety for workers.


By implementing these comprehensive best practices, construction companies can leverage the full security potential of under bridge access platforms, fostering a safer and more secure work environment for bridge construction projects.


Aspen A-40 Bridge Inspection Unit


Beyond Security: Additional Advantages of Under Bridge Platforms


Under bridge access platforms offer several advantages beyond enhanced security:

  • Increased Efficiency: Platforms provide a stable and readily accessible work area, enabling faster completion of construction tasks.
  • Improved Worker Productivity: The safer and more comfortable working environment of a platform helps to improve worker productivity.
  • Reduced Project Costs: Faster project completion and minimized worker injury risks can lead to significant cost savings.
  • Enhanced Project Quality: The platform’s stability allows for more precise and thorough work, contributing to a higher quality finished project.



Under Bridge Platforms: Essential Equipment for Highway Construction Safety


Under bridge access platforms play a crucial role in enhancing construction site security for bridge projects. By offering restricted access, improved perimeter control, and a secure environment for materials and equipment, under bridge platforms contribute to a safer and more secure work environment for construction crews.

When combined with best practices for platform operation and security protocols, these specialized types of under bridge access equipment become a valuable asset for any project involving bridge construction, repairs, maintenance, or inspections.


A-40 Bridge Inspection Unit


Under Bridge Platforms for Knowledgeable and Reliable Under Bridge Platform Rentals


The professionals at Under Bridge Platforms are proud to serve the highway construction industry by providing the best selection of high-quality under bridge access equipment. We serve California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, and beyond.


Our expanding inventory includes the rugged HPT 38 Truck Mounted Platform and the versatile Aspen UB60 Bridge Inspection Unit. As a premier under bridge platform equipment rental provider, we’re committed to your success. We guide you through the entire process of choosing and renting the right equipment, no matter the project size or type.


We take pride in being California’s only company offering total under bridge access and building long-lasting relationships with our customers through quality service. Contact us today for all your under bridge platform needs!