The first composite bridge deck has been installed in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands, serving as a replacement of a wooden bridge that is used for pedestrian and emergency vehicles.
The project is meant to be the pioneer for further bridge substitution projects in the Netherlands where a number of wooden bridges from the 70s will have to be replaced within the next few years. Further potential for these composite bridge decks is seen in similar markets such as Belgium and Germany as well as the US and Japan.
The bridge is 12m long and 5m wide with a total weight of 7 tonnes and a maximal load of 45 tonnes. Additionally, the hand rails can bear a horizontal load of 3kN per meter of rail. Engineering was done by Lightweight Structures BV, who chose Baltek structural balsa core, with glass multiaxials and a polyester resin.
The main design requirements for a composite solution were that the structural height of the bridge be as slim as possible, and that the bridge’s camber be shallow enough as not to limit access for wheelchairs and cyclists. Both these goals were achieved with the chosen construction.
All parts were vacuum-infused by Lightweight Structures BV in Delft. They were then shipped to Meerkeerk where the bridge was assembled and the wear layers and hand rails were mounted, before final installation in Utrecht. The installation of the bridge took only a few hours and other road construction work took about 3 days. This is the latest of several Baltek cored composites bridges designed and built by Lightweight Structures BV.
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