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UK Highways Agency Introduce Composite Bridge on Motorway

27 October 2005

An innovative fibre-reinforced polymer bridge is to be constructed over the M6 motorway in the UK, offering a lightweight structure fabricated adjacent to the carriageway and lifted into position with the minimum disruption to the network.

The new bridge is claimed to be half the weight of the old bridge but twice as strong and far more durable.

This is the first time that the Highways Agency has used fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) for road bridge construction on the trunk road network (two FRP decked footbridges have previously been constructed). The bridge will carry 40 tonnes, which is standard for road bridges on the network.

Highways Agency Project Manager Phil Davies said: ""This is the first time that this technique will be used on the motorway network. FRP offers the advantage of being lighter than traditional forms of construction, making it easier and more economic to build. It also has the advantage of reducing future maintenance.""

The bridge will use the pultruded ASSET system developed in Europe, with an Asset FRP deck on steel girders, placed on reinforced concrete substructures. The FRP material comprises glass fibres in a resin matrix. From the previous experience and knowledge of West Mill Bridge - a local authority road - in Oxfordshire it is known that FRP decking has increased durability when compared to more traditional construction materials and as such will reduce potential future maintenance costs and thus the whole life costs of the structure.

The new FRP bridge will replace the 40 years old under strength and defective farm access bridge at Mount Pleasant near Garstang. Work on the £2 million project started on Monday and will continue until March next year.





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