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The Gallery | New FRP bridge installed over River Thames

A new fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge has been installed over the River Thames at Mapledurham in Oxfordshire.

Fabricator ECS installed the bridge on behalf of the Environment Agency to replace an ageing bridge structure.

EXC said that the previous structure was strategically hampering other important upgrade and maintenance work required by the Environment Agency. It said that its replacement is maintenance-free and the composite material has a 50 year guarantee.

The new bridge will improve the capacity of the local access routes to the Mapledurham weir and lock complex and the works are part of a larger refurbishment project across a number of sites on the River Thames to upgrade the size and strength of existing bridge structures, which otherwise have insufficient capacity for modern vehicles.

The bridge

The project team chose fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) to fit three of the key challenges of the site: its remote site location, limited vehicle access and short time frames required for installation.

FRP specialist Fibrecore Europe uses FRP to build complete bridge structures at its plant in Holland. Moulded in a single piece, the bridge has an integrated bonded anti-slip wearing surface. The FRP deck was custom manufactured and has ECS said that it has the most efficient combination of strength and stiffness for the 13m span and 60t loading requirement.

ECS said that because the bridge was constructed from a lightweight Infracore FRP deck, it was able to be delivered to site by floating it on a barge down the Thames and craned in from the water.

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