Safer FRP footbridge

Network Rail in the UK has designed a fiber reinforced plastic footbridge in Shropshire, UK.

The ‘Flow’ bridge replaces an unsafe level crossing and the company reportedly plans to install more footbridges to replace other dangerous foot crossings around the UK.

According to Network Rail, the 21 m long bridge costs around 40% less than traditional steel structures. No concrete is used in the foundations, reducing its carbon footprint, and it weighs half of a traditional steel bridge, meaning lower transportation and installation costs.

With the majority of construction taking place off site, installation was able to take place without disruption to passenger services, the company said.

The bridge is equipped with a real-time structural health monitoring system (SHM) which records how it performs, allowing future improvements to the design and more efficient maintenance, as well as tracking its use.

"Its versatile design means we have already started looking at fully accessible versions, with lifts and ramps, for other locations where that would be a suitable option,” said Andy Cross, program manager.

“The 21m long bridge is by far the single, largest piece of manufacturing we have completed here at KS,” said Daniel Swain, director of KS Composites, who led the project. “The fact that we went from blank sheet of paper to completion and installation of prototype within 11 months is an incredible achievement and testament to the hard work and dedication of all involved.”