Inspire : Public Works Jan Feb 2013
32 Public Works Professional February 2013 In February 2012, Fremantle Port had a problem. The construction of a new pier was proving diffcult thanks to equipment congestion, and this had the potential to disr upt the regular shipping schedules. With no obvious answer presenting itself, the port authority turned to an unlikely solution: a modular, pre-fabricated bridge. Bridge manufacturer Unibridge, a French company that established an Australian presence three years ago, was commissioned to complete the project. "The building of the new pier didn't address the immediate problem of having a large backlog of cargo ships, which would have created a bottleneck for the entire port operation," says the company's Business Development Manager Dave Pennington. "They would have nowhere to load and unload the cargo. "We were the only company that could help Fremantle; everyone else put it in the too-hard basket," Pennington says. A team of six installed the 45-by-10- metre bridge, including a pedestrian sidewalk, in only 18 hours. Furthermore, no welding or machine was required on site. This was made possible by the modular concept developed by the manufacturer. The bridge arrived on site as three separate modules, with all of the components pre-fabricated and ready for assembly. Every bridge design is the same; the confguration is the only thing that changes. They have been designed for international load classes and can be built in single lane or multi-lane road width with all-steel or concrete decks. "The fact we can just pull all the pieces out of a box and pin them together and lift the beams into place means it really is like a Meccano set," Pennington says. “If somebody came up to me fve years ago and said, 'I can constr uct a 45m-long bridge in 18 hours with no machining or welding tools on site', I'd have told them they were dreaming! "Traditional bridges take anywhere from fve weeks to three months – and that’s being kind. But we are modular, so we know the weights and spans and do all of the pre- work before the bridge gets on site. "It's cost-effective because nobody can achieve the spans we can or carry the loads we can in such a short amount of time." CASE STUDY BRIDGE INSTALLATION LOCATION Fremantle Port, Western Australia JOB DESCRIPTION Building a modular bridge for pier construction DATE: FEB X APRIL 2012 BRIDGE INABOX An 18-hour project in Fremantle has underscored that the days of bridge construction taking months could be numbered, thanks to the growing use of modular, pre-fabricated components. BY CARLA GROSSETTI The fact we can just pull all the pieces out of a box and pin them together and li the beams into place means it really is like a Meccano set. It's fantastic.
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