Innovation That Matters

Modular bridging makes hard-to reach sites accessible


Design firm Arup has created a plastic modular bridging system that eliminates the need for heavy machinery, making previously inaccessible areas reachable.

Available through equipment and bridging supply company Mabey, Arup’s new glass fiber modular bridging system is strong, lighter than steel and easily transported. Mabey is distributing the bridging modules under the name of Pedesta and is offering customization that includes size, color and shape. Each module is one meter long and after a structure is post-tensioned, it’s strong enough to span distances of up to 30 meters.

Modules are fixed together through bolted shear connections. The polymer material is resistant to ultra-violet radiation, graffiti and fire. Being 70 percent lighter than steel, the bridging system can be transported via truck and forklift, eliminating the need for costly, difficult-to-position heavy machinery such as cranes. The first bridge to use the new design has been installed over a railway line in Oxford. The Arup team says that the quicker installations will save time as well as money by reducing disruption to area residents and traffic, and the new material will greatly reduce maintenance costs.

The construction industry is testing out innovations that range from flexible concrete that halves installation time, to a health-monitoring tool that logs worker exposure to hazards and provides immediate alerts when safe levels are exceeded. What is needed to create a large, infrastructure, carbon-neutral construction project?




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