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Style and substance

Aesthetics should be considered in the design of even the humblest concrete bridge, a new publication insists.

Spectacular crossings designed by big name engineers may grab the headlines, but motorway overbridges and underpasses are what most people see day to day. Once only functionalism and structural efficiency were considered by the designers of these humbler structures - and the results could be depressing.

Now, with the publication of The Aesthetics of Concrete Bridges by the Concrete Bridge Development Group, the bridge designer of tomorrow will have little excuse for neglecting this aspect of design. Prepared by a task force led by former Surrey County Council county engineer John Bergg the new guide outlines general rules for aesthetics, from basic proportions to the avoidance of unsightly water staining.

Few engineers have the talents of a Santiago Calatrava - but this new publication should enable everyone to avoid the sort of blunders that are still too visible on the UK's roads.

Group aims

The Concrete Bridge Development Group aims to promote excellence in the design, construction and management of concrete bridges. With a membership that includes all the sectors involved in the concrete bridge industry - bridge owners and managers, contractors, designers and suppliers - the Group acts as a forum for debate and the exchange of new ideas.

There are four main types of membership available:

Group membership for industry organisations and associations Corporate membership for contractors, consultants, suppliers and specialist service companies Associate membership for academic institutions Bridge ownership for all organisations which commission, own, maintain and manage concrete bridges

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