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NORCO Manufacture Innovative Footbridge

10 March 2015

NORCO Manufacture Innovative Footbridge

Norco Composites has recently developed and manufactured a unique composite footbridge to replace a 50 year old timber footbridge in Sedlescombe, Kent.

Norco explains that this is a first of its kind in the UK as the footbridge is made from Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) and is a fraction of the weight of its predecessor.

The production of the footbridge was a result of a partnership between Norco and Concrete Repairs, and Norco says it was contacted by the Civil Engineering firm to develop a composite bridge solution suitable to meet a wide range of market demand for bridges across the UK. Driving factors in the development were low maintenance, light-weight for ease of installation and aesthetics. The bridge solution also had to be produced at a target cost which would not deter decision makers from selecting composites for their long term benefits.

Norco produced a design that was deemed to be most adaptable for bridges in the 8-18m size range and a mould tool which was specially designed to be adjustable for different, widths lengths and camber. The building strategy was chosen after a detailed engineering study and assessment of materials used in the construction was conducted by composite design analysis company, Plysim.

To meet structural requirements, the bridge utilised infused uni-directional fibres in the bridge deck and beam cappings combined with over-layed multi-axial fabrics at +/-45 along with a Vinylester resin system. According to Norco, the final bridge deck weighed 600kg with the Powdercoated & Galvanised handrails weighing an additional 400kg. This represented a saving of over 3 tonnes when compared to the wooden bridge it replaced.

Manufactured at Norco’s workshop in Dorset, UK, the light weight bridge was then installed within one hour in Seddlescombe with minimal disruption.

Richard Hammond, Structures Project Manager for East Sussex County Council commented on the bridge “Maintenance of our highway structure asset stock is an ongoing cost burden and we were pleased to have the opportunity to use this relatively new material (FRP) for a replacement footbridge because it requires minimal future upkeep. The FRP gave a shallow deck cross section and had the added advantage of being a fraction of the weight of traditional materials."

Mark Northey, Managing Director at Norco was delighted with the project “This was a very successful team project with the bridge manufactured and delivered on time and on budget. This type of innovative project is what Norco does best, and we are looking forward to expanding our capability to be able to deliver similar projects in the future.”

Photo provided by Norco





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