Advanced Engineering 2018

New Mexico Department of Transport uses FiberSPAN Fibreglass Decking

12 May 2015

New Mexico Department of Transport uses FiberSPAN Fibreglass Decking

The New Mexico Department of Transport (NMDOT) has chosen Composite Advantage’s FiberSPAN Fibreglass decking to replace the destroyed Piedra Lisa pedestrian bridge.

According to Composite Advantage, when the Piedra Lisa pedestrian bridge burned in 2013, the New Mexico Department of Transportation needed a quick fix. To minimise the amount of time the heavily travelled bridge remained closed, NMDOT chose Composite Advantage’s FiberSPAN bridge deck product. Installation was completed on schedule in May 2014. Now in service for nearly a year, Zann Jones, NMDOT Bridge Design Bureau, says the fibreglass bridge deck is a big improvement over the original 30-year-old timber deck.

Composite Advantage explains that, in addition to fast installation, NMDOT was attracted to FRP’s long life cycle and low maintenance costs. Composite Advantage also engineered panel dimensions to accommodate the structure’s unique specifications.

“Accessing the bridge itself dictated a long approach made up of seven landings and seven spans to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements,” says Scott Reeve, President of Composite Advantage. “FRP panels were used for the ramps themselves and covered with a non-slip surface. Fabricating these long panels helped further minimise the number of transitions pedestrians and individuals in wheelchairs had to negotiate.”

Composite Advantage explains that FRP panels 30ft by 8ft wide were used to span pier to pier at each end of the bridge’s approach. Composite Advantage fabricated 7ft by 8ft FRP panels for the structure’s overpass section. The bridge’s arched design meant panels couldn’t be inserted from above by crane. Instead, the construction crew used a forklift to pick up an FRP bridge deck panel, move it up the approach to the bridge opening where a handful of crew members would lift the panel, walk it onto PVC pipes and roll it into place. The deck’s custom beige color blends seamlessly with its glulam wood understructure and the scenic area’s surroundings.

“The old timber deck was becoming a maintenance problem with some of the timber deck members requiring replacement,” Jones says. “So far the FRP bridge deck has been maintenance free.”

Photo provided by Composite Advantage.

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