A railway footbridge built by a nature reserve in Oxfordshire is Britain’s first modular polymer bridge.
Civil engineers Arup have installed a post-tensioned bridge in Oxfordshire, with a pioneering design by Mabey using a glass-fibre, reinforced polymer to create a bridge for awkward sites inaccessible to cranes.
Part-funded by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), a company owned by train companies and Network Rail, the innovative installation of the modular bridge will provide a model for future alternatives to level crossings, where traditional footbridges cannot be installed. The modules are light enough to be moved on a lorry and then assembled on site.
Mabey has developed Arup’s concept to commercially launch the bridge, with the brand name ‘Pedesta’. The fully customisable Pedesta features identical modules, one metre in length, which are fixed together with bolted shear connectors and then post-tensioned. The system allows spans of up to 30 metres. The reinforced polymer is 70 per cent lighter than steel, so modules only require forklift to move for more efficient delivery. The non-corrosive material is resistant to fire, graffiti, vandalism, and ultra-violet radiation.
Pedesta Bridge by Mabey
Michael Treacy, CEO, Mabey Bridge, said: “There is always room for innovation in bridging, and we pride ourselves on pushing boundaries with new materials so we can safely build longer-lasting structures even faster. What we have developed from Arup’s concept will change the game for our customers who tell us cost and ease-of-use come first. This is a significant step in our ongoing mission to lead the future of modular bridging and we look forward to seeing the game-changing Pedesta make its UK debut.”
Rebecca Stewart at Arup, the company part-funding the bridge’s development, said: “We are focused on engineering solutions to make bridges more resilient and simpler to construct. This modular bridge is quick and easy to install, minimises disruption to the surrounding communities and significantly reduces ongoing maintenance costs. We can see this bridge being useful for a whole host of global applications – from rail footbridges to road and river spans. It is great to have Mabey lead the way and become our first licensed partner.”