Category Archives: Bridges

Groundbreaking new composite bridge swings into place in the UK

Photo © Atkins

Photo © Atkins

What is believed to be the first bridge of its type in the UK has just been installed over the River Frome at the village of Frampton Cotterell, near Bristol. It is scheduled to open for use by the public this September.

The new composite road bridge has been designed by global consultancy, Atkins, which has adapted technology normally used to build advanced passenger aircraft. The wider project team has also included The National Composites Centre, Bristol University, CTS Bridges, Fibreline Composites and SKM.

Photo © Atkins

Photo © Atkins

Atkins hopes the bridge could help pave the way for a new generation of structures which cost up to 25% less than their concrete and steel equivalents over their lifetime, and, if adopted more widely, could save millions of pounds in installation and maintenance costs. Western Europe currently spends around £5 billion per year of taxpayers’ money maintaining and rebuilding its tens of thousands of bridges.

Composite bridges are equally as strong as steel or concrete bridges but lighter in weight, making them easier to transport from the offsite factory at which they are assembled.   They are also quicker to install, reducing the need for lengthy road and railway closures and the knock on disruption for residents and businesses these cause.

This type of bridge will also be more resilient against frost, extreme temperatures and de-icing salts, which will significantly reduce the frequency of maintenance checks and the cost of maintenance over the bridge’s lifetime by at least 50 per cent.

Illustrative costs of composite bridges versus more traditional materials

Illustrative costs of composite bridges versus more traditional materials

James Henderson, senior consultant at Atkins, explains, “The new bridge at Frampton Cotterell is at the forefront of an exciting new phase in civil engineering techniques. The strength and lightweight nature of composites have allowed commercial aircraft to fly further, faster and more economically.

“Having gained this knowledge and expertise, we wanted to see where else the technology could be used to deliver similar benefits. Our initial idea was to look at bridge building, a form of engineering which has largely been using the same methods for centuries.”

Atkins is an official engineering services provider to the UK’s National Composites Centre and is looking into the advantages of using composites across other engineering projects including London Underground train doors, nuclear infrastructure, gantries and catenaries and wind turbines.

By Gail Taylor 

Written By admin 
August 29, 2014 12:58 pm
Posted In Bridges

Could the UK’s first carbon-fibre bridge spark a revolution in civil construction materials?

please note: this is a representative image of a composite footbridge, not the actual bridge being installed.

Please note: this is a representative image of a composite footbridge, not the actual bridge being installed.


In an exclusive interview in the UK’s national newspaper, The Telegraph, Chris Hendy, head of bridge design for WS Atkins, reveals details of what is believed to be the first ever bridge in the country to be constructed using carbon-fibre.

The 8-metre bridge will be installed later this year in the rural village of Frampton Cotterell in Gloucestershire and is to span a drainage channel. Further details about the bridge will be released once it is in place and open to the public.

Hendy tells The Telegraph that “while the composite materials – which are made from layers of compounds bound together in moulds with resin to produce extremely strong but light materials – have been around in other sectors for some time” – namely in aerospace and Formula 1 – “they have yet to make the leap into civil construction”.

The article explains that although using composites can be almost twice as expensive as traditional bridge materials, they do not corrode as concrete and steel do, so maintenance costs over the lifespan of the bridge are dramatically reduced. According to The Telegraph, western Europe spends 5 billion euros (£4.1 billion) every year on fixing corrosion on infrastructure.

Hendy goes on to say that composite technology could also cross into other new areas such as non-rusting oil rigs. However, he concludes the interview by stating, “We’re not saying make the whole world out of composites. Just where it’s most efficient.”

Written By admin 
June 05, 2014 14:22 pm
Posted In Bridges

Work commences on bridge for Qatar’s newest planned city

Artist Impression 1 (© Lusail Real Estate Development Company)

After last year’s commission of the Lusail Pedestrian Bridges in Qatar, Octatube is now taking their part of the project into the installation phase. The design has been drawn by San Diego-based Safdie Rabines Architects.

Since 2006 the Lusail Real Estate Development Company has started to develop a 38 sq km site 15 km north of Doha. This new project is one of the largest commercial projects in the Gulf States.

The theme of Lusail, Qatar’s future city, has everything to do with water. The concept for the two pedestrian bridges is that of a necklace being draped along the ring of the island marina. After the realisation of a mock-up the first embedded elements are now on site.

Building Site (© Octatube)

The two cable-stayed bridges are brought to life with structural glass floors, aluminium louvre canopies, glass kiosk canopies and glass balustrades. Including the ramps, both bridges are approximately 200m long and span 90m from one quay to the other. Each bridge is fully illuminated, stimulating leisure activities during cooler evening temperatures.

Artist Impression 2 (© Lusail Real Estate Development Company)

The main structure of the bridges with the pylons, cables and concrete decks is built by FCC Construccion. Because of the marine environment, all structural elements are executed in duplex stainless steel. Octatube’s scope holds more than 200 tons of this high grade steel. It is used for the production of cantilevering glass floor structures, canopy structures, baluster posts and a number of other elements.

The project features 2,000 sq m of laminated glass, divided into walkable areas, overhead glazing and the guardrails. The glass throughout the project has bespoke fritting patterns and all along the guardrails both the glass and the walkways will be illuminated by integrated LED lighting.

Artist Impression 3 (© Lusail Real Estate Development Company)


Written By admin 
May 15, 2014 12:15 pm
Posted In Bridges

Borders Railway prepares for installation of longest new bridge


The £200m Borders Railway project in Scotland is preparing for one of its most significant construction milestones to date as the longest bridge to be built from scratch is installed at Hardengreen roundabout near Eskbank, just south of the Edinburgh Bypass.

The installation will see a 1200 tonne crane used to hoist the bridge’s four beams into place, each weighing 107 tonnes; the equivalent to around 55 cars. A 30-strong construction team will work around the clock during the road closures to install the bridge beams and create the new bridge deck.

The preparation works at Hardengreen Roundabout started in September 2013 saw the project’s main contractors, BAM, carry out extensive piling works and construction of bridge abutments.

Hugh Wark, project director, Network Rail, said: “The installation of this new bridge structure is a major construction milestone for the team. Not only will it transform the visual impact of the landscape and connect the railway from north to south but it is the longest bridge to be built from scratch along the new route.”

New images released as Forth Bridge Experience takes shape

Forth Visitors Centre

The public are being invited to give their views on new artist’s impressions of The Forth Bridge Experience, released today by Network Rail.

The Forth Bridge Experience is a proposed multi-million pound development which will enable the Forth Bridge to become one of Scotland’s major landmark tourist attractions and encourage visits to a short-listed World Heritage site.

The Forth Bridge Experience envisages visitors being able to access the Bridge via:

A bridge walk and climb to the top of the southern Queensferry tower accessed from a visitor reception centre at South Queensferry

A panoramic lift and viewing platform located at the North Queensferry side and accessed via a visitor centre situated directly beneath the northern Fife Cantilever.

David Dickson, Network Rail acting route managing director for Scotland, said: “We’re currently assessing the early feasibility study and developing a detailed business plan for delivery of these proposals. The market research study, launched today, will give us more detailed understanding of the potential market for these visitor plans and we’re keen to hear from as many people as possible, whether you’re excited about visiting the bridge or completely petrified by the prospect.

“The images we’ve released provide a bit more of an insight into how we’d like to package visits to the bridge. They will be used over the coming weeks to help facilitate discussions with local communities and relevant organisations and interest groups.

“We look forward to developing these plans further in the coming months at which point we’ll have a better idea of the delivery timescales.”

The new images, which show how the visitor reception centre at South Queensferry and the North Queensferry Visitor Centre could look, have been released to support the launch of detailed market research into the plans.

Forth Visitors Centre

The images reveal more detailed concepts of Network Rail’s vision for the Forth Bridge. The North Queensferry proposals would see visitors arriving via a landscaped shore side walk at a unique visitor centre building created under the northern Fife Tower. The visitor centre would also offer education and exhibition facilities alongside catering, Forth Bridge themed retail and a special function venue. The centre would be connected by a step-free ramp to two panoramic elevators on the eastern side of the bridge. The elevators would provide access to a viewing platform located dramatically at the top of the bridge, 110m above sea level.

The South Queensferry proposals envisage a visitor reception centre from which guided bridge walks for groups of up to 15 people begin. The walk would route would pass along the south approach viaduct on a pre-existing walkway underneath the track, followed by a climb to the top of the southern Queensferry Tower using a walkway within the top cantilever.

The reception centre would be developed on Network Rail owned land underneath the southern approach span, just a short walk from Dalmeny Station.

To find out more information about the proposals and to complete the market research survey, please visit

Written By admin 
January 28, 2014 13:44 pm
Posted In Bridges

Halcrow chosen to design 11km Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk


Engineering consultancy Halcrow has been named by Nakheel to head up development of The Boardwalk – a bustling new attraction that will span the crescent of Palm Jumeirah’s artificial archipelago.

Unveiled at Cityscape 2013, The Boardwalk will convert the protective crescent of Palm Jumeirah into a singular dining, shopping and walking destination, adding to this already global attraction.

Covering the entirety of the crescent, Nakheel will create The Boardwalk by building over the rocks of the Palm’s breakwater. It will be 6m wide – more than double the width of the existing crescent path – with more than 20 concessions offering refreshments and souvenirs throughout its 11km length.

The Boardwalk will include an East and West Pier – each stretching 100m into the Arabian Gulf at each end of the archipelago – offering extensive views of the Palm Jumeirah and the Dubai skyline.

A Nakheel spokesman said: “The Boardwalk at Palm Jumeirah – one of several new Nakheel projects underway on the island – is the latest example of the innovative design and engineering projects that we are known for. The new attraction will provide yet another unique facility for Palm residents, the wider UAE community and the millions of tourists who visit Dubai each year.”

Nakheel expects to start tendering for the construction of The Boardwalk in Q2 2014.


Richard Greenan

Winner selected for Salford Meadows Bridge

Salford City Council and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) have announced the winners of a proposed new pedestrian bridge across the River Irwell.


Tonkin Liu with Arup fought off a strong shortlist which included Atelier Zündel Cristea, Paris; Mott MacDonald with Moxon Architects, Altrincham and London and Wolfgang Buttress Studio with Toby Savage Design Limited and LDA Design, Stockport.

The site for the new bridge – The Meadows – covers around seven hectares and forms the northern section of the Irwell River Park (IRP) project.

The proposed new bridge will play a crucial role in connecting this important site to the £650 million redevelopment of Salford Central including Chapel Street, which has recently undergone an award-winning  £10 million transformation, the University of Salford, and the historic Peel Park.

Renato Benedetti, McDowell + Benedetti, RIBA Adviser said “Tonkin Liu with Arup are worthy winners – their unique bridge is poetic, innovative and elegantly engineered with sinuous curves seamlessly linking the Meadows with the new public space to be created. Its sculptural qualities ensure it will be a joy to look at and to use, becoming an inspirational new urban marker for Salford.”

Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart said:  “The winner’s entry clearly stood out for its bold design. It could become an iconic centrepiece for the area. We will now be working with our partners to find the funding to create this stunning new bridge in the heart of Salford that will add to the city’s global reputation.”

Mike Tonkin of Tonkin Liu commented on their win “We are very excited about taking forward our project on this beautiful site, a place-making project that encompasses architecture, landscape and cutting-edge engineering. Our biomimetic design has grown out of many years of research with Ed Clark’s engineering team at Arup and will bring together many facets of our fascination with nature.”

McDowell + Benedetti recently won the WAN Transport Award for their Scale Lane Bridge in Hull.

This competition was issued by the WAN Business Information service.

Written By admin 
January 22, 2014 13:34 pm
Posted In Bridges

Super-crane on 6,000-mile voyage to build colossal new bridge for New York

One of the largest floating cranes in the world, the Left Coast Lifter, now dubbed the “I Lift NY”, has been making an epic sea-passage from California to New York. Once there, it will be used to construct a super-size new bridge that will replace the deteriorating Tappan Zee Bridge that currently crosses the mighty Hudson River.

Pulled by tugboats, the super-crane left the Port of Oakland on 22 December 2013, and has just passed through the Panama Canal to continue its sea voyage up the east coast of the USA to New York. It is expected to complete its 6,000-mile journey as early as the end of January 2014.

I Lift NY

Formerly used to build the San-Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, the “I Lift NY” has a boom length of 328 ft and a 1,900-ton lift capacity. This is said by New York State’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo to be the equivalent of 12 Statues of Liberty in weight at once. He claims this Herculean lifting capacity will shorten construction time on the new bridge by months and save millions of dollars.

Once “I Lift NY” arrives on site, it will be used to lift prefabricated sections of the new bridge weighing between 900 and 1,100 tons into place. It will also be used to demolish the old bridge.

After frustrating delays and indecision about whether to build a new bridge or repair the existing 1955-built one, in 2011 the Tappan Zee Constructors consortium finally secured the $3.9bn design-build contract for the new cable-stay bridge.

The eight-lane bridge, designed over two parallel spans, will span the 3.1-mile stretch of river between Westchester County and Rockland County. According to the New York Times, 1,000 steel piles of up to 6ft in diameter and 300ft long will support the new bridge.


The article explains: “To make sure the piles can hold the weight of the daily traffic – 138,000 cars – workers delicately set a barge on top of the piles, fill it with water until it weighs 7mn pounds, adjust that force with hydraulic jacks, then test the piles for several days to see if any shifting takes place.”

By the time the bridge is finished in 2018, 400 engineers will have contributed to it, and construction workers will have put in 6mn hours of labour. It is designed to last for at least 100 years.

Gail Taylor


See this link for a list of companies behind the project that form the Tappan Zee Constructors.


Disaster-resilient infrastructure for Bohol

bohol footbridge

Disaster-resilient housing solutions for the earthquake-struck Philippines province of Bohol have been submitted by the NGOs Habitat for Humanity and Gawad Kalinga. The quake, which registered 7.2 on the Richter Scale, destroyed Bohol’s bridges, schools, roads and churches.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development assistant Central Visayas director, Nemia Antipala, met with Governor Edgar Chatto to discuss disaster-resilient proposals: “Their design would be best suited for that eventuality. It has been predicted that every year, there will be stronger and stronger typhoons. So that is something we have to plan for,” she told the press in December.

Bohol suffered damages to the tune of P7.862b in the storm, with 8,083 houses lost and 34,527 damaged. 64 evacuation centres have been installed, with tents for over 40,000 displaced families supplied by various agencies. NGO headquarters also served as makeshift shelters. Bohol must be equipped with houses to endure winds of up to 220km/h, as part of Chatto’s proposed four-year rehabilitation and recovery plan for the province.

President Aquino inaugurated Abatan’s temporary steel bridge during his visit, which connects the towns of Maribojoc and Cortes. Two new bridges, Disamparados Bridge along the Tagbilaran north road and Tultogan Bridge in Calape town, will be built as part of a road and bridge construction scheme that will cost around P138 million.

Image shows a temporary bamboo footbridge making it possible for people to cross Abatan Bridge in Maribojoc town, Bohol province.

Qatar unveils 3 bridges designed by Calatrava

Qatar is a country with ambitious plans for infrastructure development. It has set out a National Vision for 2030 and within this timeframe the nation is hosting the Football World Cup in 2022.


This week, Qatar’s Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ has unveiled one of the country’s most important infrastructure projects that will provide, it is hoped, an iconic image for the city of Doha to the world.

Doha’s Sharq Crossing is certainly extremely ambitious; it will comprise three bridges interconnected by subsea tunnels spanning a 10 km stretch of water and linking Doha’s Hamad International Airport with the city’s cultural district of Katara in the north and the downtown central business district of West Bay. The 12 km project is designed by architect, engineer and artist Santiago Calatrava and will become a new landmark for Qatar. The inter-connected bridges will be between 600 and 1,310 m in length and connect to 8 km of subsea tunnels. Calatrava’s design is inspired by natural forms, and draws from the image of flying fish to form arcs rising from the water. The Architect stated, “Architecture for public works humanises the natural landscape and serves the community. The Sharq Crossing project for Doha is a great opportunity to develop an exceptional and grand piece of public work.”

On the practicalities, Health and safety has been carefully considered across all aspects of the crossing and specifically tunnel design, combining enhanced fire-resistant structures with ventilation, smoke exhaust and dedicated pressurised escape routes. The crossing tunnels have been designed to meet strict international traffic management and safety requirements.

The project is one of the most technologically advanced building and complex programmes being undertaken by Ashghal to enhance Qatar’s transportation network.

Ashghal has appointed Fluor Corporation as the programme management consultant for construction supervision of Sharq Crossing, which is estimated to commence by 2015.

View the Pillars of Qatar’s National Vision for 2030 here.

Jim Davis