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Rotterdam to Install 100 Fibre-Reinforced-Polymer Bridges to Replace Current Ageing Structures

02 July 2013

The first series of these bridges has been inaugurated in the Ijsselmonde district of Rotterdam, on the south bank of the river Nieuwe Maas.

In that district alone, a further 16 bridges will be replaced. The replacements are seen as necessary because the existing timber bridges are in poor condition. In total, the city will be replacing 100 bridges with fibre-reinforced-polymer (FRP) structures, before the end of 2014.

The material used for the new bridges is InfraCore, which was developed by FiberCore Europe, which is based in Rotterdam. The company says that by using FRP to create the bridges, they will have a design life of at least 60 years, in comparison with only 25 years for timber bridges. The FRP will not rot and corrode and is not susceptible to the usual environmental impacts bridges sustain. As a result, the bridges require virtually no maintenance. The bridges will be installed by the main contractor, Wallaard Noordeloos.

The bridge in IJsselmonde, in the Beverwaard-polder, has been designed by Olaf Gipser Architects together with landscape architect Klaas Jan Wardenaar of Vista Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. This team also designed the bridges that will be installed in the Prins Alexander and Rozenburg districts. The bridge designs contain subtle references to the original polder bridges, from the time when the districts were still farmland. They will replace the rather unsophisticated timber bridges built when the city was rapidly expanding in the 1970s and 80s. Now that the districts have matured, they require a more sophisticated design.

The city of Rotterdam has about 800 pedestrian and cycle bridges. Many of them are nearing their design life and will need replacing in the coming years. The replacement operation is organised by dividing the stock into five clusters, each with its own design. This will ensure an uniform front and  coherence in the street view, and cheaper maintenance and management of the bridges.

Photo provided by Fibercore.