Innovative bridge built vertically, unfolds like an umbrella
Researchers from the Vienna University of Technology have developed a new technique that allows bridges to unfold horizontally once it is complete.
VIENNA — Researchers have demonstrated a futuristic bridge-building technique that allows the structure to unfold like an umbrella to the length of its span.
This new technique is cost-effective, time-saving and has less impact on the natural landscape, according to a news release from Vienna University of Technology.
The Lafnitz Bridge in Austria was built vertically instead of horizontally with scaffolding, like traditional bridges.
Using this technique, engineers erected two vertical concrete piers and attached steel girders on both sides. As the piers are then slowly lowered using hydraulic systems, the steel girders unfold.
Once the bridge has opened up to reach a horizontal position, concrete is added to the structure.
The 116-meter Lafnitz Bridge was "unfolded" over the Lafnitz River on February 27, 2020.
Johann Kollegger, a professor at the Vienna University of Technology, explained in the news release that traditional bridges erected using scaffolding can take months to be completed.
Using this new technique, the elements for the lowering method can be set up in two to three days while the lowering process itself takes roughly three hours.
Kollegger noted that the technique could be used to build bridges in difficult terrain or "terrain that should be not disturbed," such as nature reserves.
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