Standard building products debut for pedestrian bridges

Lightweight bridge deck elements for pedestrian and bicycle truss bridges are available in a range of depths depending on deflection criteria, support spacing and other design considerations.

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Composite Advantage (CA, Dayton, Ohio) has introduced a standard line of trademarked FiberSPAN bridge deck products for use on pedestrian truss bridges. Since the successful installation of its fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) decking material as part of an accelerated construction project at Wolf Trap National Park (Vienna, Va.) in 2012, the company says the product has quickly been adopted as a robust option for replacing concrete decks on traditional steel truss bridges.

Lightweight decking has emerged as a growing requirement for truss bridges for pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths. “By incorporating a lighter weight bridge deck with a truss superstructure and fencing, contractors can assemble the bridge near the work site and lift it into place over busy roads with a minimum of road closure time,” says Scott Reeve, president and CEO of CA. “Depending on bridge span lengths, FRP decking can save up to 100,000 lb [45,360 kg] per span. This kind of weight savings means faster bridge erection using lighter cranes.”

CA has established standard FRP bridge deck configurations based on American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO, Washington, D.C.) pedestrian bridge requirements and typical stringer support spacing. Bridge deck depths include 3, 3.5, 4 and 5 inches (75, 90, 100 and 125 mm) and come with a nonslip wear surface. These product forms and depths are expected to provide designers with the specifications they need to incorporate FiberSPAN decking into their bridge concepts.

Standard composite deck types that include deflection criteria, bending stiffness, weight and maximum support spacing can be found at the company’s Web site ( CA says it also is able to provide additional deck configurations and depths to help engineers optimize bridge designs. Curbs, drainage scuppers and expansion joints are optional features that can further reduce onsite construction time and labor, adds Reeve.