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Fiber reinforced polymer materials have been in use for strengthening and repair of bridge structures since early 1970th. Outstanding mechanical properties of FRP materials such as high specific strength and stiffness, excellent durability characteristics and light weigh have made them a ideal materials for upgrading of existing structures. together with excellent materials properties, possibility of using adhesive bonding to attach these materials to existing structures have enabled easy and fast application.
SUREbridge project is to realize and provide a solution to utilize the remaining capacity of the concrete deck in an existing bridge by preserving it while refurbishing/ strengthening the bridge superstructure to the desired service level.

Investigations show that approximately 70% of the problems in existing concrete and concrete-steel bridges are related to concrete decks and in many cases, the refurbishment procedure involves demolition of the existing concrete deck and replacing it with a new one.

One consistent trend in current construction is the increasing demand for higher quality, shorter construction times and reduced environmental impact. This applies both to the construction of new structures and to refurbishment and renewal work on existing structures, the latter accounting for an increasing percentage of the construction work in general. Construction activities on site, such as demolition of existing concrete decks and abutments, soil compaction, or excavation, generate a great deal of noise and vibration which could have a negative impact on the environment, disturb inhabitants and, in unfavorable conditions, cause damage to buildings and installations close to the construction site especially in populated areas.

This situation is aggravated by growing public awareness of environmental issues and the increasing use of vibration-sensitive electronic equipment and machinery in industry. In many countries, environmental regulations are enforced more stringently and limit or even prohibit the use of impact or vibratory hammers.

There is currently a need for new upgrading techniques that can meet the requirements imposed by stakeholders and end users. A study conducted within the European “Sustainable Bridges” project (FP6) reveals that – from the point of view of bridge management authorities – the second most important field towards which research efforts should be directed is non-disruptive strengthening and repair techniques for bridges (www.sustainablebridges.net).

Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP), materials have attracted a great deal of attention in recent decades in infrastructural applications. This is mainly due to their superior mechanical properties such as high specific strength and stiffness and very good durability characteristics. The first application of carbon fiber polymers for strengthening of concrete bridges took place in the seventies and ever since the FRP technology has evolved so that full FRP bridge superstructures could be constructed today. Advantages such as ease of application, fast assembly and thus less traffic disruption, more effective and durable construction are among the advantages of using FRPs compared to conventional construction materials and methods.

The advantages offered by bonded composite materials such as carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) laminates to upgrade the load-carrying capacity of existing structures and building new bridge structures have been demonstrated in the European project PANTURA (FP7).

An accepted solution in the past 20 years, which has been widely practiced in many countries, is to replace the existing concrete decks with lightweight FRP decks. This solution has several advantages including: less self-weight of the deck (an FRP deck weighs about 20% of an equivalent concrete deck) which provides extra capacity for traffic load, fast assembly compared to in-situ casted concrete decks, and ease of installation which does not need heavy machinery and site complications.


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Reference Images from San Miniato case study bridge