GRP Delivers Low Maintenance Bridge

10 December 2009

The ‘Holländerbrücke’, located in Reinbek near Hamburg, is reported to be the first bridge in Germany to combine a steel frame with Fiberline Composites’ new FDB 300 GRP deck.

It is hoped that by using glass-fibre reinforced plastic in the design, the decking will be virtually maintenance free.

Long service life and resistance to road salt were key elements in the decision by Reinbek municipality to seek new structural materials for a proposed new 100 m x 3.5 m bridge across the Hamburgerstrasse highway. The municipality’s project manager, Sven Rosenbaum, believes that composite will play an important part in future bridge building.

“Our search for alternatives to conventional materials was primarily prompted by all-round cost considerations. Conventional bridge structures often require costly and extensive maintenance after just 15 to 20 years. We expect the new composite bridge to stand for 80 years without the need for major repairs,” says Rosenbaum.

Rosenbaum is also pleased with the bridge’s visual impact, its lightweight, streamlined form blending easily into the street picture.

The bridge was designed by German architects and engineers, Werner Sobek, whose brief was to combine low-cost maintenance with attractive appearance. The architectural design of the bridge was planned in collaboration with Reinbek.

“Our aim was to create a low-cost structure by using non-corrosive materials, minimizing the number of components and building the bridge with modules that would be easy to install and if necessary replace. The combination of composite and steel also allowed us to create a slimline structure with dynamic surfaces and differentiated colours. The result is a bridge that is pleasant to look at, use and touch, says engineer Heiko Trumpf of Werner Sobek.

The bridge modules were constructed in the factory and then conveyed by road to Reinbek where they were craned into place on prepared footings. All this was possible thanks to the low weight of the deck units.

“Prefabrication under controlled conditions prior to installation means high quality construction. Short-time installation on site also minimizes traffic disruption, a critical consideration for some projects,” says Trumpf.

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