Australia's first modular bridge built near Goulburn
Australia’s first modular built bridge was recently unveiled near the town of Goulburn in NSW.
The bridge which is pre-fabricated off-site, has many potential applications including disaster relief, military, pedestrian bridges, elevated railways and private access bridges. It was built by Lifting Point, an Australian-based business who developed and own the IP.
The advantages of the system stem from its two major components: a metal tray, which defines the shape of the bridge deck; and the reinforcing steel mesh, which is prefabricated and connects to the tray, structurally supporting it until the concrete is set.
These panels can be mass-produced using modular techniques, leading to high quality control, lower assembly costs, better workplace safety and pre-certification due to the use of Australian made and certified steel.
They are also designed to be stacked up and transported in the format of a shipping container, opening up opportunities to increase exports. Installation of the bridge is much faster and cost effective than traditional methods, with workers only needed on-site for four days to install an entire 12-metre bridge section, including abutments. An entire deck section can be poured as a single concrete slab, reducing maintenance needs and creating a stronger bridge.
The result is a safer and longer-lasting structure. The bridge system has many advantages over traditional methods of pre-cast concrete, which involves pouring the concrete off-site and transporting the heavy components to site. Lifting Point’s bridge panels are much lighter and can be placed and installed using truck mounted cranes, greatly reducing transportation and opening up previously inaccessible and remote bridge locations.
The company formed collaborative partnerships with Toyota Tsusho, the Australian Reinforcing Company (ARC) and SMEC Engineering; to get the concept off the ground. Development of the technology attracted support from State and Federal Government in the way of R&D and export market development grants.
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