FRP for Bridges and Tunnels
New Protection from FRP Flooring to Structural Shapes
FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic), or fiberglass grating offers significant benefits for almost any industry, but there are some added wins when using FRP fabrication for bridges.
Along with the traditional corrosion resistance, lightweight construction and improved strength options, FRP also makes building bridges and tunnels easier and more cost effective. Fiberglass grating and panels for bridges are lighter than similar components made of steel-reinforced concrete (SRC), saving you money on their transport to the construction site.
The lightweight pre-fabricated units are able to be installed more quickly than many of their counterparts, which can often help construction companies to reduce their man-hour requirements. By relying on FRP fiberglass fabrication for bridges, you’ll eliminate the need to build frameworks, pour concrete over rebars and move the forms as you construct the bridge.
Many construction firms have found that they need less heavy equipment when they use FRP in their bridge development because the overall process has fewer steps and many can be accomplished with lighter equipment like excavators.
FRP Used for Pedestrian Bridges
Decks, guard rails and bridges are making good use of FRP grating and structural shapes. Some bridges are commonly mistaken for other products but are actually made of FRP. FRP grating is a good safe surface for decks while withstanding harsh environments. Guard rails are easily fabricated from FRP structural shapes and FRP handrail parts. Fiberglass grating has great strength to weight ratio that makes it a good solution for pedestrian bridges. We carry both molded and pultruded grating to meet your needs.
Many industries have adopted FRP grating over traditional metal deployments because it can take more abuse, weight and traffic. The FRP options are lighter weight, allowing your team to put them in place much quicker, and they resist the corrosion, rust and other rot often found as materials are exposed to water, salt and automotive chemicals.
Composite decks also can significantly reduce noise for any nearby businesses, parks or residences when compared to steel grating. This is even more true when your bridge will have heavy truck traffic.
Long-Term Investment Strategies for Bridges
In some cases, fiberglass structural shapes for bridges can have a higher initial cost than other traditional materials. This can lead many to assume that fiberglass fabrication for bridges and tunnels will have a higher lifetime cost, but research shows that FRP actual can save on costs during a bridge’s lifetime.
A West Virginia University long-term study started in the early 2000s has found that fiberglass grated bridge decks start to produce significant lifetime savings after 10 years. The market has also addressed the main concern that the WVU study found with FRP: initial costs were much higher than materials such as steel-reinforced concrete decks.
Today, commodity prices are bringing SRC and FRP costs closer, meaning your bridge application will likely see a stronger return sooner.
Turn to Fiberglass Structural Shapes for Bridges
Many of the bridges and tunnels you travel through during the year already put FRP decks and structural elements in place. You’ve likely thought they were steel elements due to their coloration, but the long-life and strength would prove them to be fiberglass grating.
Companies are looking more to FRP composites because of their lifetime savings. Some applications we’ve seen a significant or complete amount of FRP decks include:
- Pedestrian decks next to or above vehicle bridges
- Movable (port) bridges
- Lift and swing bridges above intercostal waterways
- Replacements in historic steel truss bridges
- Existing steel-grating bridges that need replacements due to weather or corrosion
Ready to learn more? Contact Marco Fiberglass today and explore how we can help you create a long-lasting bridge or tunnel.