New plastic bridge for M6 UK
United Kingdom – The Highways Agency builds a revolutionary new bridge in Lancashire
The Highways Agency has installed a new lightweight ‘plastic’ bridge over the M6 in Lancashire.
The innovative fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge is two-thirds the weight of the old bridge, but stronger and offers cost savings through reduced maintenance in the future.
This is the first time the Highways Agency has used FRP for road bridge construction on the motorway network, but the technique has been used before on footbridges.
The new bridge will replace the 40-year-old farm access bridge at Mount Pleasant near Garstang in a £2 million project. Although only for farm and equestrian centre access, the new bridge has been built to carry vehicles up to 40 tonnes.
The benefits of the technique are:
- Lightweight bridge allows rapid installation reducing disruption during construction.
- New bridge has a superior strength/weight ratio to steel or concrete.
- Non-corrosive properties with water and salt, thus reducing future maintenance.
- Reduced future maintenance means road users will see fewer road works and experience less disruption.
- Reduces whole life costs
- Demonstrates the Highways Agency’s commitment to using innovative techniques.
- The Highways Agency by investing in new technology hopes to help stimulate further innovation which will led to cheaper and more durable bridges.
Highways Agency project manager Phil Davies said:
"The use of innovative techniques is essential to ensure that we have a road network fit for modern day road users. Using FRP means this new bridge will be two-thirds the weight, but twice as strong as using conventional materials.
"The advantage for motorists is that there is less disruption because construction time has been reduced and less maintenance will be needed in the future and demonstrates the Highway Agency’s commitment to investing in new technology."