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Composite Advantage's FiberSPAN Pedestrian Bridge Deck Provides Link to Boston's Charles River Parklands

11 December 2012

MassDOT and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation Resources chose Composite Advantage’s (CA) FiberSPAN Fibre Reinforced Polymer bridge deck for Boston’s largest pedestrian and bicyclist bridge project to date. 

CA’s composite bridge deck is an integral component of North Bank Bridge, a new 690-ft. structure that links Cambridge and Charlestown, Massachusetts, US, and provides access to the Charles River parklands; just across the river from downtown Boston.

CA fabricated its FRP decking with five different panel sizes to accommodate the project’s requirement for a curvilinear shape. The bridge’s fluid form allows it to span water, cross a railroad, skirt launch pads for tour boats and bypass a historic building.

“This project was a little bit different,” says Scott Reeve, President of Composite Advantage. “Unlike most deck-on-beam construction applications, our FRP bridge deck was engineered as an integral component of the overall structural arrangement along with tubular steel trusses. The composite and steel truss combination positions the bridge deck to act as the shear connection. This approach made it possible for the designer to create an iconic landmark with visual impact while meeting structural requirements.”

The deck was manufactured with CA’s sandwich construction which it says employs fiberglass top and bottom skins and closely-spaced internal webs that function like a series of I-beams.  CA moulded the 10.3 ft. by 12 ft. panels with a 5-in. depth and an epoxy aggregate non-slip coating.  To enhance the bridge’s appearance in its natural setting, the FRP deck’s color was coordinated with the steel.  For pedestrians travelling between the two communities, the new North Bank Bridge has reduced a 25-minute commute to less than five minutes.






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