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Polymer bridges to reduce traffic disruption

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A FIBRE reinforced polymer composite road bridge will be installed and tested on the UK's trunk road network for the first time later this year, the Highways Agency said last week.

Speaking at the Agency's Roads '04 conference in Manchester, senior structural adviser Neil Loudon said that radical technical solutions are being investigated to meet the Agency's needs.

'We need to minimise carriageway occupations and traffic disruption and incorporate best value solutions, ' he said.

'The FRP composite structures can be prefabricated and lifted in.

They are high strength but are much lighter so we can use smaller cranes. We will be seeing them in use on the network in the near future, ' he continued.

FRP materials have been extensively used in marine and aeronautical industries. So far the Agency has installed two FRP footbridges on the network and is now looking to expand into road bridges.

Fibre reinforced polymers can be used in composite action with steel or concrete in new structures and can also be used in plate or sheet form to strengthen existing structures.

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