Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 1653
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Sweden

The road to better bridges

A thorough study of Europe's railway bridges can help save significant amounts of money and upgrade rail transport capabilities.
The road to better bridges
Rail transport in Europe relies heavily on bridges that cross rivers, valleys, ravines and other natural phenomena across the varied European landscape. But many of these bridges are aging or failing to cope with increased traffic and higher axel loads. The EU-funded project 'Sustainable bridges: assessment for future traffic demands and longer lives' (Sustainable Bridges) set out to increase bridge capacity and lifetime through enhanced maintenance and support.

Project partners built a database of knowledge and research on the state of bridges and conducted studies in this respect so that rail organisations, consultants and contractors can benefit from the information.

The project aimed at upgrading bridges so they could accommodate up to 33 tonnes in freight traffic and higher speeds up to 350 km/hour for passenger trains. Another aim was to increase remaining life of bridges by 25 %, resulting in significant savings in infrastructure and for the transport sector.

Sustainable Bridges addressed challenges such as flooding, frost damage, dense forests and urban development. In conjunction with a team of railway companies, the project also inventoried 220,000 railway bridges across the continent and identified major challenges. Arched masonry bridges emerged as a major consideration worth investigating.

Measurement techniques were also developed to assess the bridges, and wireless sensors based on fibre-optic technology were proposed to monitor and assess viability. Overall, different teams within the project studied load and resistance assessment as well as repair and strengthening methods using fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs).

Research and information emerging from the project were disseminated to stakeholders through training programmes, workshops, conferences and a website. The Sustainable Bridges project is expected to save EUR 1 billion, while the research itself will be useful for road bridges, adding value to the project's results.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top