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Recycled Composite Replaces Wooden Train Bridges

  • Friday, 11th June 2010
  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

Centennial Contractors Enterprises have built two recycled structural composite train bridges at Fort Eustis, VA where they perform renovation, repair and construction projects throughout the base.

The new bridges replace two existing wood bridges built in the fifties on Fort Eustis’s vast railroad system. The transportation school on the base uses the rail system to train soldiers on train operations.

The company used a composite material that is made of recycled plastics such as milk jugs and old tyres. Building bridges with this new material proved only slightly different from using conventional materials. “You don’t need special tools to work with it,” explained Bart DeForest, senior project manager at Centennial. “No one has dealt with this material in construction yet, so the biggest difference was the learning curve for all involved. We found out that the material is more durable and easier to handle, and didn’t require as large equipment to move it into place,” added DeForest.

In addition, Centennial say that the bridges require very little maintenance and have the same life expectancy as conventional bridges.

“This has been a great project. It was a winning situation between Fort Eustis and our contracting team,” said Phil Reed, Fort Eustis DPW Engineering Division chief. “Not only will it cut our maintenance cost for years to come, but it will last longer than the 57-year-old bridge we removed.”

Centennial had the flexibility to design the custom solution for Fort Eustis, developing the design proposal as well as pinpointing experts in industry and working closely with them.

“Centennial allowed us to use a design-build fast-track process to get into the hands of the new technology and came up with this for a better alternative for the long term and allowed us to complete the process in half the time that we would have using conventional construction,” added Reed.

Centennial worked with RSC manufacturer, Axion International as well as Parsons Brinckerhoff, Innovative Green Solutions and English Construction Company to complete the project. The construction started in November 2009 and was completed in May 2010, two months ahead of schedule.

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