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A fiberglass bridge deck to replace a 30-year-old timber one in New Mexico

News International-French

11 May 2015

When the Piedra Lisa pedestrian bridge - an integral part of  Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Sandia Mountains trail system - burned in 2013, the New Mexico Department of Transportation needed a quick fix. 

To minimize the amount of time the heavily travelled bridge remained closed, New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) chose Composite Advantage’s FiberSPAN bridge deck product. Now in service for nearly a year, Zann Jones, NMDOT Bridge Design Bureau, says the fiberglass bridge deck is a big improvement over the original 30-year-old timber deck.

In addition to fast installation, NMDOT was attracted to FRP’s long life cycle and low maintenance costs. Composite Advantage also engineered panel dimensions to accommodate the structure’s unique specifications.

FRP panels 30 ft. by 8 ft. wide were used to span pier to pier at each end of the bridge’s approach. Composite Advantage fabricated 7 ft. by 8 ft. FRP panels for the structure’s overpass section. The bridge’s arched design meant panels couldn’t be inserted from above by crane. Instead, the construction crew used a forklift to pick up an FRP bridge deck panel, move it up the approach to the bridge opening where a handful of crew members would lift the panel, walk it onto PVC pipes and roll it into place. The deck’s custom beige color blends seamlessly with its glulam wood understructure and the scenic area’s surroundings.

“The old timber deck was becoming a maintenance problem with some of the timber deck members requiring replacement,” Jones says. “So far the FRP bridge deck has been maintenance free.”

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