New lightweight, modular bridge design launched


Arup and Mabey have launched a new modular, glass-fibre-reinforced polymer bridge that they believe will revolutionise the installation of pedestrian footbridges on challenging railway work sites.

The development of the Pedesta post-tensioned bridge design has been partially funded by the RSSB. The lightweight, modular design means the bridges don’t require large cranes or heavy lifting equipment to be installed.

For the rail industry, the bridges, which Arup and Mabey say are 70 per cent lighter than their steel counterparts, could be used instead of a level crossing in areas where it is difficult or impossible to install a conventional footbridge.

Spans of up to 30 metres can be achieved by linking metre-long, pre-fabricated modules using bolted shear connectors and then post-tensioning the entire structure.

Arup has already installed one of the new bridges for Network Rail at a site in Oxford.

In an announcement launching the new product, Rebecca Stewart, an associate at Arup, 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 partnered with Mabey and for them to have become our first licensed partner.”

As well has helping to develop Pedesta, Mabey has become the first licensed distributor of the new product.

Michael Treacy, chief executive of Mabey Bridge, added: “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.”

Clarification: The first installation of Pedesta in Oxford was undertaken by Arup without Mabey.