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The town of Reinbek on the outskirts of Hamburg, Germany, has installed an innovative bridge featuring a deck made of a maintenance-free composite/glass-fibre reinforced plastic (GRP). The solution points the way for future bridge projects in Europe, where numerous ageing bridges face replacement in the years ahead.
Avirtually maintenance-free bridge of sophisticated design has been installed in Reinbek near Hamburg, Germany.
The Holländerbrücke bridge is the first in Germany to innovatively combine steel with a new FDB 300 GRP deck supplied by Fiberline Composites, a composite profile manufacturer.
80 years without major repairs
Long service life and resistance to road salt were key elements in Reinbek’s decision to seek new structural materials for a proposed new 100 m x 3.5 m bridge across the Hamburgerstrasse highway.
The municipality’s project manager, Sven Rosenbaum, believes that composites will play an important part in future bridge building.
Their search for alternatives to conventional materials was primarily prompted by all-round cost considerations. Conventional bridge structures often require costly and extensive maintenance after just 15 to 20 years. The new composite bridge is expected to stand for 80 years without the need for major repairs.
The Reinbek municipality is also pleased with the bridge’s visual impact, its lightweight, streamlined form which blends easily into the street landscape. The bridge was designed by German architects and engineers, Werner Sobek, whose brief was to combine low-cost maintenance with an attractive look. The architectural design of the bridge was planned in collaboration with Reinbek.
A low-cost structure
The aim was to create a low-cost structure by using non-corrosive materials, minimizing the number of components and building the bridge with modules that would be easy to install and replace if necessary.
The combination of composite and steel also made it possible to create a slimline structure with dynamic surfaces and differentiated colours. The result is a bridge that is pleasant to see, use and touch.
The bridge modules were constructed in the factory and then transported by road to Reinbek, where they were craned into place on prepared footings. All this was possible thanks to the low weight of the deck units.
Prefabrication under controlled conditions prior to installation means high-quality construction. Short-time installation on site also minimizes traffic disruption, a critical consideration for some projects.
The bridge deck components
Fiberline’s programme of structural profiles for bridge decks consists of three components: FBD600 ASSET, FBD450 CLAP and FBD300. All three profiles are well suited both for the construction of new bridges and the renovation of life-expired decks on existing concrete or steel bridges. The profiles cover all bridge deck requirements, ranging from light to heavy vehicle loads.
The advantages for all three profiles are a long life with minimum maintenance, short construction time and fast installation on site. Low weight means reduced handling costs (e.g. transport and assembly), cost savings and less traffic disruption – both during the building phase and the lifespan of the bridge.
Assembly without special equipment
During assembly, the support can be load-carrying beams made of either GRP composite, steel or concrete. The profiles are bonded together to form an integrated deck which is bolted or glued to the load-carrying beams. The Fiberline profiles can be machined and adjusted using ordinary tools, and their low weight means that handling can be performed without use of heavy lifting gear.
The deck can be assembled on site, for example in a tent close to the point of installation, and craned into place. Alternatively the profiles can be mounted directly onto the loadcarrying substructure. Assembly can take place "top-down" without the use of scaffolding.
Fiberline can also provide a complete solution with profiles for side cladding and construction of the load-carrying beam layer.
Pedestrian footbridge components
The FBD300 deck profile is designed for small bridges carrying light traffic and for pedestrian footbridges. With a height of just 80 mm, this deck is particularly well suited for direct mounting on existing beam substructures as replacement for decks made of life-expired timber and other materials. Among other things, the FBD300 conforms to load class 300 of the Dutch NEN 6788: 1995 standard. This corresponds to a maximum wheel load of 100 kN and a total vehicle weight of 300 kN.