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Scotland will have UK's first recycled plastic bridge

The first Recycled Structural Composite (RSC) plastic bridge in the UK is to be built in Scotland, using sections prefabricated in the USA.

The bridge will be approximately 4m wide x 27m long and will be used to replace an existing steel beam and timber deck road bridge.

The existing bridge is supported by two masonry-built piers and abutments, which are in good condition and will remain in place to support the new bridge.

The clear span is 8.5m between piers resulting in three effective spans at 9.1m, representing the longest single spans yet constructed using RSC material. The bridge has been designed to European standards to carry a load of 45t.

The bridge crosses the River Tweed and is located on private property near Edinburgh.

It was commissioned by Vertech Ltd and designed by architectural consulting firm Cass Hayward of Wales. The bridge will be constructed on-site by a local contractor.

The new bridge will be manufactured and prefabricated in the United States and will be shipped to Liverpool via container ship and then on to Edinburgh.

The new bridge will be shipped in six sections (two per span). The bridge is expected to be fully manufactured and installed by October this year.

Supplier Axion International will provide $170,000 (£105,300) worth of RSC material, to be used in the construction of the plastic bridge.

The infrastructure and building products manufacturer specialises in products made from 100% recycled plastic. The new plastic bridge will be the first of its kind outside the USA.

“We are pleased to be a part of this project in Scotland,” said Axion president Steve Silverman. “We look forward to supplying our materials for [the UK’s] first plastic bridge and pursuing additional opportunities in the region.”

Vertech Ltd chief executive officer William Mainwaring said: “Whole life costs, particularly with respect to maintenance, are increasingly important and hence we are very excited to be able to introduce this unique new structural material into the UK market.

“Its environmental credentials combined with its durability and minimum maintenance requirements are a distinct advantage.”

Readers' comments (5)

  • Peter Elliott

    Its not the first, suggest you check out the bridge at Aberfedy… must be some 15 years ago?

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  • "Scotland will have UK's first plastic bridge" has now been amended to "Scotland will have UK's first recycled plastic bridge"

  • Peter Elliott is quite correct. The footbridge at Aberfeldy Golf Course is also built in plastics - maybe not recycled but plastics non the less. If I recall correctly the design was by Maunsell (now a part of Aecom) and it is a cable stayed structure.

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  • Following Aberfeldy's frp footbridge, I believe there was an frp road bridge somewhere on the Oxon/Glos border, and more recently perhaps an frp accommodation bridge somewhere in the vicinity of Bodmin?

    I think that Cass Hayward will be surprised to be described, in the Engineering media of all places, as an architectural consulting firm!

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  • I'm sure I also recall an article in NCE a few years back about an FRP bridge over the M6 somewhere near Lancaster. Methinks the title of this article needs rewording!

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  • I am also sure that Cass Hayward will be very surprised to be dsecribed as an architectural consulting firm. Network Rail has a number of FRP bridges, including a footbrdige and an accommodation bridge. FRP are Fibre Reinforced Polymers though, not recycled plastic.

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