Construction begins of ice bridge built to da Vinci design

Students from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands have begun work this week to build a 65m-long ice bridge to a design by Leonardo da Vinci. The first batch of students have gone to Finland to build the paper fibre reinforced bridge, which will have a free span of 35m. It is believed to be the longest ice bridge ever built. The paper fibre that remains after the ice has melted in the spring will be used as compost. The bridge is based upon a design by Leonardo da Vinci for a bridge over the Bosporus that was never built. The international project is being led by a team from the Dutch university. The 5m-wide bridge is due to be completed by 13 February. To demonstrate that it is strong enough for pedestrians to cross safely, it will carry a 2t car. The ‘Bridge in Ice’ is the third ‘ice project’ in Finland by students and staff of the built environment department of Eindhoven University of Technology. In 2014 a team from Eindhoven built the world’s largest ice dome (30m across) in just three weeks, and they only just made it in time due to the unusually warm weather in Finland that year. The  latest project requires twice as much ice – around 900t in total – and the team expects to need twice as much building time. The students will be working in severe conditions in shifts day and night for seven weeks.  The bridge will be made with water to which 2% paper fibre is added. The students spray this water in thin layers onto an inflated balloon that serves as a mould and it freezes almost instantly. Once the structure is strong enough, the balloon is removed from under it. Calculations revealed that the previous aim of a 50m free span was not feasible because more ice would be needed than the team can produce. The bridge will be the main attraction of an ice festival taking place in Juuka, and it is expected, just like past ice projects, to attract thousands of visitors. In total around 150 students and volunteers will be making the trip to Juuka to build the bridge. They will come not just from the Netherlands but also from Belgium, England, Scotland, Portugal, Switzerland and Finland. The project leader is Arno Pronk, researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology, who will be assisted by co-leaders Masters students Roel Koekkoek and Thijs van de Nieuwenhof. Ten other educational institutions and 45 companies are are also working on the project.

Forth Road Bridge reopens early after emergency repairs

The Forth Road Bridge in Scotland has reopened to light traffic earlier than expected following the completion of temporary structural repairs. However, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and abnormal loads will not be allowed onto the crossing until the permanent repairs are completed, which is expected to take about six more weeks. A steel splint has been installed to repair the cracked member found earlier this month (link opens in new tab). The splint was always intended as an interim fix in order to allow the bridge to be reopened to traffic pending a permanent solution Since completion of the interim repair, the member in question has been load tested and monitored. Results have been gathered through the use of strain gauges, which have been installed for the first time on the bridge to provide live data on strains, stresses and rotations within the affected area. Splints continue to be installed at the other seven truss-end links as a precautionary measure in an operation that can continue even with the bridge open. A full inspection of the bridge is now 90% complete, with no material defects detected. The inspection has been carried out by more than 65 rope access inspectors and has also used drone footage. The remaining inspection work will continue until early January.  Transport minister Derek Mackay said: "I am pleased that we are now able to reopen the bridge to 90 per cent of traffic, well ahead of schedule. Following rigorous testing and inspection of the temporary repair, experts have recommended the bridge is now ready to open to all traffic except HGVs. With the temporary solution now in place, the remaining work to install the long-term repair can safely proceed without the need for a full closure. The repairs will be carried out with overnight lane restrictions on the bridge. “For the complex and detailed interim repair to have been completed in this timeframe is a tribute to the highly skilled and dedicated staff who have worked 24/7 since December 3rd. Since the closure was put in place, weather conditions have been mainly favourable and the team have been able to complete the repair work in good time." Chartered engineer Mark Arndt, Amey's account director responsible for the bridge said: "Better than expected weather conditions and round the clock work by our teams allowed us to progress with the detailed inspection, scaffolding construction and actual repairs quicker than originally anticipated. While we are pleased to have finished ahead of schedule for non HGV traffic to use the bridge, we are very aware of the on-going inconvenience for HGVs not having access. Public safety has been at the heart of everything we've been doing and work will be progressing over the coming weeks on the additional strengthening works required to enable HGVs to start safely using the bridge.”

Rande Bridge widening project begins in earnest

After nine months of little visible activity, pile driving has begun on the Rande cable-stayed bridge's two new access viaducts. The Rande Bridge is a fan-system cable-stayed bridge near Vigo, Spain, spanning the Vigo Ría estuary and linking the municipalities of Redondela and Moaña, around 20km north of the Portuguese border. The steel-reinforced concrete composite Rande Bridge forms part of the AP-9 Autopista del Atlántico highway that links Portugal’s A-3 highway with the cities of Vigo, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruna and Ferrol in northwest Spain. Photo: Xunta de Galicia At the time of opening in 1978 the 1,558m Rande Bridge was the longest cable-stayed bridge of its type in the world. The main bridge is 695m long and 24m wide and is made of three spans of 147m, 401m and 147m. These spans are of the orthotropic type with a reinforced concrete slab. Its four reinforced concrete towers have a height of 148 metres above the estuary. Two new lanes will carry regional traffic across the estuary between the city of Vigo and the Morrazo Pennisula, thus relieving traffic on the AP-9 stretch of the highway. It is estimated over 50,000 vehicles per day use the current Rande Bridge. The project involves the construction of two new access viaducts and 706m-long, 5m-wide bridge decks on either side of the existing Rande Bridge. Additional cables on the existing tower portal frames will support the new central bridge decks, which will also be connected to the existing deck with hinged triangular trusses. Four anchor boxes will be laid on top of the existing towers to accommodate the additional cables that will support the new decks. The first phase will involve the installation of temporary working platforms in the estuary at the side of the base of each of the four towers, which will then be extended and connected to the towers to support four cranes. The second phase will involve the transportation of four metal anchor boxes to the temporary platforms by pontoons. These will then lifted using hydraulic jacks along each pylon and then attached on top of the tower portal frames. The first 21m-long steel deck segment will be lifted in the same way and then fixed laterally to the existing deck at regular intervals. Additional bridge sections will be added using mobile cranes that will be set up on adjacent completed sections. The new access viaducts will be built in the same style as the current bridge using post-tensioned concrete box girders. Six emergency crossing areas will connect the three bridge decks to facilitate access across the gap between the structures. The client of the new viaducts is Autopista del Atlantica (Audasa), which has the concession for the 219km AP-9 toll road. The owner is Spain’s Ministry of Development and the contractor is a consortium formed by ACS (Dragados) and Puentes y Calzadas Infraestructuras. The engineers are MC2, part of Typsa, and Manuel Juliá Vilardell, who took part in the construction of the original bridge. The bridge-widening contract is valued at US$83 million. Preliminary works began in February this year and the project is expected to be completed in early 2017.

Details unveiled for British Columbia’s largest bridge

Design and cost details have been unveiled for a planned US$2.54bn bridge over the Fraser River in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Transportation and infrastructure minister Todd Stone said it will be the largest bridge ever built in British Columbia. At about 3km long, it will be 65% longer than the Port Mann Bridge, and 32% longer than the Alex Fraser. Stone released details of the project to replace the George Massey Tunnel and launched the third phase of consultation. The newly published details include a project definition report and an image of the conceptual design, showing a cable-stayed section over the river. There will be four general travel lanes in each direction as well as one for public transport and high-occupancy vehicles. “The new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel will improve highway safety, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from unnecessary idling, and save rush-hour commuters up to 30 minutes a day,” said Stone. He added that, when completed, it will address what is now the worst traffic bottleneck in the province and bring travel-time reliability to one of the most important transportation corridors. The current tunnel is nearing its end of life, and no longer meets modern standards for seismic safety. The third phase of public consultation will continue to 28 January 2016. Following completion of the consultation, the ministry will finalise the project scope and cost estimate, and submit the project application for environmental review. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.

Freyssinet opens new UK factory for bridge components

Freyssinet is set to open a new factory in the UK for the manufacture, servicing and testing of bridge components. The factory in Telford will enable Freyssinet to increase production and will also provide additional space for research and the development of new products. Facilities include a bearing assembly area. “With the continued growth and improvement in the UK’s manufacturing and construction industries, we are delighted to be opening a new factory, which will enable the company to expand on its manufacture, storage and laboratory testing,” said managing director Paul Bottomley, who will lead the opening celebrations on 21 December. He added: “The new facility features one of the largest test presses in the country and state of the art equipment.” Equipment for the factory has been chosen to be in line with the company’s sustainable technology ethos to ‘do more with less materials and energy’. Freyssinet’s portfolio of products and services includes specialist repair, strengthening and protection of structures in the building, civil and marine sectors. 

Work begins on Vietnam’s Dai Ngai Bridge

Vietman’s deputy prime minister has inaugurated work on a US$233 million project that includes the Dai Ngai Bridge. The project includes two main bridges, five smaller bridges and approaches, for a total length of 15.2km. The cable-stayed main bridge is 2.24km and the second bridge has a length of 860m.  Work is due for completion by the fourth quarter of 2018. Construction is already under way on a sister project, the 1.6km Co Chien River Bridge, which will link the two Mekong Delta provinces of Ben Tre and Tra Vinh. Dai Ngai and Co Chien bridges are among four major bridges being built on National Highway 60 to reduce congestion on Highway 1 and shorten the route from Ho Chi Minh City to the provinces of Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau by 70km.

Japanese researchers develop new way of seeing hidden cables

Researchers at Japan’s Tohoku University have developed a way of using terahertz waves to see hidden steel prestressing wires used in bridges. The terahertz wave light source has the characteristics of both light and radio waves. The researchers see the new technology as being especially useful in the safety inspection of extradosed and other types of bridges that use steel wires hidden inside external cables covered by resin jackets. The optical measurement system developed by Professor Yutaka Oyama and his team at the Graduate School of Engineering comprises a terahertz light source and a laser terahertz light source with high penetrative capabilities for polyethylene resin and similar resins. It makes use of the terahertz wave characteristics that efficiently reflect teh steel surfaces within the resin.

Assen lifting bridges open to traffic

First phase of the 'Blauwe Klap' lifting bridges in Assen, in the Netherlands opened to traffic last week. The first of two bridges designed by architect ZJA was officially opened by Alderman Harmke Vlieg, after which motor traffic and cyclists were permitted to cross the new bridge. Main contractors Van Hattum and Blankevoort are now working to demolish a temporary roundabout and the old sewers and other services that still in the ground to the east of the bridge will be removed. As soon as weather permits, the final asphalt coatings will be laid and road markings applied. All work is due to be completed by mid-April 2016. The completion of the Blauwe Klap lifting bridges is an important milestone for the new Blaue As shipping route, which is now at the halfway mark. In 2016 and 2017, work will continue on the Weiers Bridge, the Groninger Bridge and the construction of the 2nd lock (Lock Havenkwartier), which were also designed by ZJA. The shipping route will open in 2017.

Anglo-German team scoops win in Odra River rail bridge competition

A limited competition for the design of two replacement bridges at Küstrin on the German-Polish border has been won by Knight Architects and engineers Schüßler-Plan.  The two-stage limited competition was run by Deutsche Bahn Germany and is for two replacement bridge structures which will form the central part of the Berlin-Kostrzyn- Gorzów railway modernisation programme: one is over the River Odra crossing the German-Polish border and the other crosses the river flood plain on the German side. At approximately US$48 million it will be the largest bridge project in the state of Brandenburg. The winning solution for the main crossing is a network arch spanning 130m with a slim structural depth of 17m. The network arch system allows a high level of structural slenderness and transparency, offering views onto the pristine flood plains of the River Odra and the nearby ruins of the Kostrzyn fortress. The cross-braced pattern of the hangers is intended to reference the historic truss bridge it will replace. The new rail link will enable train speeds of up to 120km/h and will provide space for subsequent electrification. The anticipated construction programme is 2018-2020.

Main construction of Padma Bridge gets under way

Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina has inaugurated the main construction work for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge. River training and work on the main structure of the two-tier bridge formally began with Saturday’s ceremony. The prime minister first unveiled a plaque to start the river training works at Naodoba in Janzira before heading to Mawa point for the groundbreaking of the main bridge. On her way to Mawa from Janzira by a coastguard vessel, she witnessed piling work taking place in the middle of the Padma River. The 6.15km steel truss bridge will carry a four-lane highway on its upper level and a single-track railway below. It is being built by China Major Bridge Engineering.

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