The world’s first modular, polymer composite bridge with a span of 30 meters has been designed by Arup, a UK-based design consultancy. The conception was embodied by another UK company, a bridge specialist Mabey.
The bridge has been installed at a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for Network Rail in Oxford. The bridge modules were light enough to be transported by an articulated lorry and then assembled on site and lifted from a distance. The bridge features include identical modules, one meter in length, which are fixed together with bolted shear connectors and then post-tensioned.
The system allows spans of up to 30 meters, so it can adapt to suit any application. In addition, by being 70 percent lighter than steel, the modules enable faster, safer and more efficient project delivery. The reinforcing mineral fiber (glass for the first bridge) provides additional resistance to fire, graffiti, vandalism, and ultra-violet radiation.
The post-tensioned bridge is designed to be assembled in hard to reach sites where large cranes or heavy machinery cannot be used. According to the experts, the structure is expected to be of particular interest to the rail industry and will provide a safer alternative to level crossings where traditional pedestrian bridges cannot be installed.
As part of the collaboration, Mabey will become the first licensed distribution partner for the bridge. Based on Arup’s concept, Mabey is launching the bridge to its customers under the brand name Pedesta™ at Bridges 2017 – a notable bridge conference taking place at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada from July, 27–31 2017.
Mineral fibers are increasingly used for bridge construction and maintenance. Thus, the students of the Canadian university have developed basalt composite to fix bridges. The US uses fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials to provide service and build bridge decks. Also, the first ever FRP composite bridge was built in 1992 in Scotland.