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Bridge Construction
 
Products, services and expert advice for your next bridge construction.

 

A bridge can be categorised by its type of framework (girder, arched, suspension), materials used or its intended use (road, railway, pedestrian). Bridges are made of different structural components, which determine the overall strength of the structure. Quantity, design and dimensions of individual structural components depend on factors such as the span, shape of the superstructure, live loads and intended use.

From the planning stage through to implementation, our team of experts ensure you receive the optimal temporary works solution, no matter what shape, size or type of bridge you are constructing.

 


The Substructure

Constructing the right foundation for your structure


For bridge construction, large foundation depths are required so that shoring loads can be transferred to the earth. Bridge foundations fall under two main categories known as shallow and deep foundations.

Shallow foundations like a spread footing or pad foundation transfer pressure to the earth close to the surface. The dimensions of the foundation are determined by the height of the load to be transferred and properties in the soil.

Special or deep foundations like well foundations, rammed piles and bored piles, are generally used when a site does not have the required bearing capacity or if there are other conflicting factors like water below the structure, river courses or restricted spaces of a pad foundation.

Loads are transferred to deeper layers and still require a load distribution baulk or a slab to connect the pier foot and special foundation.


What type of formwork should I use?


It’s important for formwork to absorb horizontal concrete pressures. Panelised wall formwork systems are normally used when there are fewer requirements for the concrete surface of foundations.

For a large number of applications, longer application periods or if constructing irregular shapes, we recommend a girder wall formwork system as a cost-effective solution.


Piers & Pylons


Piers reduce span widths and help transfer the load from the superstructure into the foundation below. Ultimately, bridge piers will bear the load of the superstructure and should be built using reliable formwork systems.

Pylons are concrete columns from which a roadway or bridge deck is suspended via cables.

SB Frames are used with girder formwork to construct piers on The Mersey Gateway bridge in Runcorn


Formwork capabilities to meet any pier geometry


It is important to consider the appearance of piers as they are highly visible components on most bridge structures.

Discussing architectural specifications with our technical and engineering experts during the early stages of the project will enable us to meet your design requirements with precision.

In order to achieve the best concrete finish for your piers, maintaining the pressure of the concrete is essential, which means choosing the right formwork is even more important.

Tight and blemish-free formwork will create a smooth finish and avoid bleeding or deformations. Panel wall formwork systems, such as TRIO and MAXIMO fulfil these requirements in the most cost-effective way.

If a special tie arrangement or irregular geometry is specified, then a girder wall formwork like VARIO GT 24 with its brace and variable tie rod spacing is the best option.


 


Abutments


An abutment provides support for the superstructure. Similarly to piers, a panel formwork system can be used for this purpose. If a specific tie pattern is desired, we advise using a girder wall formwork system, which gives you greater architectural flexibility.

A clean concrete finish is often required when constructing abutments; this can be achieved using either system. Our systems can be mounted with any type of plywood to produce the desired effect.


 


Climbing systems

Systems to ensure your piers and pylons reach the top safely


Our approach to climbing gives you the confidence to carry out all operations from form setting, concreting and removal of formwork quickly and safely. Smooth integration between our climbing systems and our scaffolding and formwork solutions accelerates the pace of construction, enabling your project to stay on track.  

The type of climbing method used depends on the height of the structure. We usually recommend using a self-climbing system after 10 cycles, as the operation becomes more economical than crane climbing.


Crane-climbing


This method is cost-efficient when fewer than 10 cycles are required. Formwork units are securely connected to the structure during the concreting phase. Integrated working platforms or access systems can be crane lifted simultaneously to the next level and can easily adapt to most geometries.


Self-climbing


Self-climbing technology is used to construct piers where more than 10 cycles are required, as its application becomes more economical. Systems like our Automatic Climbing System (ACS) are beneficial as they enable formwork platforms to be repositioned during high wind loads. Safe and secure operations can be maintained as the formwork unit is connected to the structure at all times and is lifted to the next phase via a hydraulic climbing device.

Reinforcement and cleaning operations can be carried out under protection of the returned formwork. For irregular pier shapes and varying cross-sections, the climbing formwork can be adjusted as required.



The Superstructure

Make a lasting impression


Span widths are the main consideration when selecting the method of construction and temporary works systems. Factors such as architectural specifications, site limitations and geographical conditions also have a bearing on the right solution for your project.

We can advise you of the most suitable method and system depending on the type of bridge you are building (girder, arched, cable bridge).


Falsework

Building the superstructure on falsework


Reliable falsework is crucial during the concreting stage, as this will transfer the structural loads whilst the superstructure takes shape. Falsework can be an economical option if fewer cycles or minimal repositioning is required.

We offer flexible frame and scaffolding shoring props, depending on the type of support you require. Our falsework and formwork components are designed to integrate completely, making it simple and easy to erect on site.


Secure shoring options


With some of our light scaffold shoring options, scaffolding struts can take loads up to 60 kN and are secure in high-speed winds.

For scaffolding heights up to 8 m, frame supports with their light individual components offer a cost-effective solution and are able to bear high loads.

Where structures are considerably high, or if transport routes are required in the scaffolding, we recommend using braced and node scaffoldings. It offers the best solution for a scaffolding height of up to 22 m.

Flexible scaffolding allows you to form almost any structural shape. Arches or slanting structural components are supported by coupling standard components to form the required shape.


 




Specialised construction

On some projects, falsework can be very expensive, time-consuming or impractical. As an alternative, we use special systems to enable construction of the superstructure on even the most complex construction sites.

Our team of experts design these solutions specifically for your project, using standard formwork components from our VARIOKIT Engineering Construction Kit. This allows flexible arrangement and easy adjustments to accommodate the geometry of your structure.  By working with you from the very beginning, we can guarantee the best possible application of any system.


Balance Cantilever Method
  • Construction of a single segment takes place on a one-week cycle
  • Up to 5m spans can be formed with one carriage
  • Fewer assembly and disassembly operations

This type of construction is beneficial and cost-effective when constructing a bridge deck spanning 70 m or more. Starting from the pier, construction of the superstructure is carried out symmetrically in both directions, where spans of 3-6 m are usually concreted at a time.

Incremental Launching Method
  • Uniform framework can be developed
  • Continuous cycle repetition saves time

The Incremental Launching Method involves building the entire deck from one side of the bridge, using a hydraulic device to push the system forward. A high level of planning is involved, as each segment is fabricated and concreted behind the abutment in factory conditions. This allows the deck to be constructed without being affected by the weather.

Once the concrete achieves the required strength, the new segment is aligned with the previous sections using tendons. This method is commonly used where box girder cross-sections are specified.

Building parapets

Building a secure parapet


Parapets form the end of the bridge deck and act as a safety barrier. This part of a bridge also provides a protective layer for the insulation and can be used as a substructure for guardrails, noise or screen walls. To cast a parapet in situ, you need reliable and safe systems that enable you to work at height with confidence.


Using our VARIOKIT Engineering Construction Kit and girder wall formwork, we provide various cantilevered solutions to support the type of parapet you are building.

For long bridge spans, cantilever parapet carriages like our VGW (VARIOKIT Cantilevered Carriage) are more economical and can cover 15 to 25 m long sections when using three to five carriages simultaneously. Concrete loads are transferred via the formwork carriage and into to the sub-structure through heavy load supports. These types of systems should not be bored into the bridge deck.

Our integrated platforms allow comfortable and safe working for operatives, so you can construct with precision. With maximum operating loads of up to 20 kN, a large cantilevered parapet can be formed without additional anchorage.


For pre-fabricated bridges or bridge refurbishments, a cantilevered parapet platform would be more ideal, depending on your requirements. We pre-fabricate platforms before sending them to your site, including protection from leading edges and platform covering, so they can be lifted into position straightaway. Working cages are integrated into the platform to prioritise safety and facilitate formwork erection and dismantling. Any adjustments can be carried out on the platforms at a later stage if required. This way, parapets can be formed quickly and precisely.




Featured Projects

Our products have been used on a variety of bridge projects all over the world. Below are some examples in the UK.


Products for any bridge construction project



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