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Completion of Europe’s first recycled plastic bridge

News International-French

10 Jan 2012

Axion International Holdings, Inc., a leader in Recycled Structural Composite (RSC)™ technology used to produce Ecotrax™ railroad ties as well as Struxure™ building materials, announced on December the completion of Europe’s first recycled plastic bridge. The materials for the bridge consisted of Axion’s innovative RSC material, which is designed from 100% recycled plastic.

90 Foot Road Bridge for Heavy Vehicles Was Prefabricated By Axion and Erected in Less Than Two Weeks Using 100% Recycled Plastic Composites, the First of its Kind Outside the US

The plastic bridge was prefabricated in the United States at Axion’s plant in Portland, PA and was transported to Scotland via container ship. It now spans the River Tweed at Easter Dawyck, near Edinburgh, Scotland and forms part of the historic John Buchan Way. The plastic bridge, which consists of three spans, is approximately 12 feet wide x 90 feet long and was used to replace an old steel beam and timber deck road bridge. The bridge was shipped in six sections (two per span), and due to its pre-fab design the entire construction project (including dismantling of the old wood and steel bridge) was completed in under two weeks. In fact, the erection of the new plastic bridge itself, took only four days within that timeframe.

Construction of the bridge was completed on schedule, before Scotland’s winter season by a skilled team from Glendinning Groundworks Ltd, a Scottish contractor, and 10 Field Squadron (Air Support), Royal Engineers. Axion coordinated with its partners Vertech Limited and Sicut Holding Ltd., in addition to Dawyck Estates, specialist bridge designer Cass Hayward LLP, Cardiff University’s School of Engineering and Rutgers University’s AAMIPP Department – with support from the Welsh Assembly Government – to make the project a reality. Being made from plastic, the bridge won’t rot, rust or corrode, and requires no painting or regular maintenance. In addition, the bridge is 100% recyclable at the end of its useful life.

“Axion couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this historic project in Scotland, producing Europe’s first plastic recycled bridge,” stated Steve Silverman, Axion’s President and CEO. “This project validates our strategy to deploy Axion’s building materials using our prefabrication concept to reduce on site down-time and costs, creating a more value added proposition for our customers. By taking advantage of our material’s strong, yet light-weight nature, we were able to cost-effectively ship the entire span to Scotland, and then complete construction on-site in just two weeks. The remarkably fast erection time of only four days for a 90 foot bridge is a major benefit of our unique composite material, as it substantially reduces the complexity and cost of construction, and is good for the environment as well. Now that Europe’s first recycled plastic bridge is complete, we look forward to pursuing additional opportunities throughout the region.”

"It has been a fantastic achievement to introduce the first recycled plastic bridge outside of the US,” stated Mr. Anil Aggarwal, Director of Vertech Limited. “Thanks to Axion's commitment to our requirements, Vertech has been able to build this bridge in record time and save 50 tons of plastic waste from going into landfill or being shipped to Asia."

The previous bridge was supported by two masonry–built piers and abutments, which were still in good condition and were kept in place to support the new bridge. The clear span is 28 feet between piers resulting in three effective spans at 30 feet, representing the longest single spans yet constructed using this unique material. The bridge has been designed to meet European standards with a load rating of 45 metric tons, thus allowing construction projects to be initiated in a similar manner throughout the continent.

Professor Tom Nosker, one of the nation's top mechanical engineers according to Inventors Digest magazine and Professor at Rutgers University, said, “As the principal inventor of this technology nearly 20 years ago, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on this recycled composite bridge and appreciate the trust and confidence that has been extended by all involved to attempt this historic project. This bridge is the most beautiful I have worked on, and it was erected in less than four days, which is a monumental feat in itself for a 90 foot road bridge.”

Developed in conjunction with Rutgers University’s Materials Sciences and Engineering Department, Axion’s proprietary RSC material is inert and contains no toxic materials. It is impervious to insect infestation, will never leach toxic chemicals nor warp. Because it is lighter than traditional materials, transporting RSC is less expensive and reduces energy costs. In addition, Axion’s products are completely recyclable at the end of their functional life.

About Axion International Holdings, Inc.
Axion International Holdings, Inc. (OTCBB: AXIH) develops structural building products in the United States and internationally from 100% recycled consumer and industrial plastics. It offers structural composite railroad crossties, structural composite I-beams, tongue and groove planking, and various sizes of boards for use in engineered design solutions, such as rail track, rail and tank bridges, pedestrian and recreation bridges, marinas, boardwalks, and bulk heading. The Company markets its structural products to the railroad industry, military, and industrial engineering and contracting firms. Axion International Holdings, Inc. was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey.

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