Like a bridge over troubled rail lines

A light modular pedestrian bridge has been developed by engineering company Arup and bridge supplier Mabey to provide a safer alternative to level crossings where traditional pedestrian bridges cannot be installed.

A light modular pedestrian bridge has been developed by engineering company Arup and bridge supplier Mabey to provide a safer alternative to level crossings where traditional pedestrian bridges cannot be installed.

The post-tensioned bridge, named the Pedesta, is made of glass-fibre and reinforced polymer. It is designed to be assembled in hard to reach sites where large cranes or heavy machinery cannot be used.

“This modular bridge is quick and easy to install, minimises disruption to the surrounding communities and significantly reduces ongoing maintenance costs," said Arup's Rebecca Stewart.

"We can see this bridge being useful for a whole host of global applications – from rail footbridges to road and river spans.”

Mabey CEO Michael Treacy said there is always room for innovation in bridging.

"What we have developed from Arup’s concept will change the game for our customers who tell us cost and ease-of-use come first," Treacy said.

"We pride ourselves on pushing boundaries with new materials so we can safely build longer-lasting structures even faster."

The first bridge has been installed at a Site of Special Scientific Interest for Network Rail in Oxford, England. The bridge modules were light enough to be transported by an articulated lorry and then assembled on site and lifted from a distance.

The development was funded in part by Arup Ventures and the British Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB).

“Improving customer experience is a key challenge in the Rail Technical Strategy," said RSSB Innovation Programme Director, Neil Webster.

"The funding provided by RSSB for the development of this bridge has enabled the industry to come together to find this innovative solution.”

[The Pedesta bridge. Photo: Mabey]