Use of concrete voussoirs

Testing of a novel flexible concrete arch system

Masonry arch bridges have been used for 4000 years and today they still play an important role in the road network of the UK and other areas of the world. There are currently ~ 70,000 masonry arch bridges in the UK and more in other countries in Europe (Harvey, 2007). However, the rapid rise in labor costs associated with the construction of masonry arch bridges had made them less cost effective than their reinforced and pre-stressed counterparts. Never the less, many of these more recent steel reinforced concrete bridges have had to be repaired due to corrosion or replaced due to lack of load carrying ability to meet new European loading standards [5, 6].

The repair or replacement of bridges, environmental and aesthetic consideration must receive priority and account taken of the whole life cost of a bridge structure. This means that a masonry arch bridge which can be transported flat, lifted and erected rapidly is an attractive option for small bridges which make up the majority of the bridge stock in the UK and Ireland.

The arch system developed under a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Queen’s University Belfast and Macrete Ltd. Uses the arch form, plain structural elements and eliminates the use of corrodible reinforcement there...

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