Longer and Longer Concrete Viaducts for Transportation Growing Needs

Serge Montens, Chief of Bridge Division, Systra Paris, France

Transportation needs are increasing very much in developing countries. Both urban and inter-cities transportation infrastructures are being developed very fast for highways and railways. Light rail transit systems are often carried by viaducts, which are more economical than tunnels.

As a consequence, the number and the length of new long bridges are increasing more than ever. In order to build these long structures in a reasonable amount of time, new construction methods have to be imagined. Many long viaduct decks are made from precast segments, 3 to 4m long, assembled using self- moving steel beam. For very long viaducts, this method requires giant precasting yards, as for Dubai metro. This construction method allows assembling a typical 30m span in 2 to 3 days. But this method, although faster than cast-in-place construction, is not sufficiently fast to build very long viaducts in a reasonable amount of time.

The logical solution is to increase the size of the segments, in order to decrease their number, and then the assembling time. We will show some examples of precast full spans, used for highway or railway long viaducts. In that case, pre-tensioning is more interesting than post-tensioning.

Introduction

Transportation needs are increasing very much in developing countries. The urban population represents now more than 50% of the world population, and is still increasing at a high rate.

So, both urban and inter-cities transportation infrastructures are developing very fast for highways and railways. Many populated areas are located near coasts. This means that many islands have to be linked to the continent, and bays or wide estuaries have to be crossed. This implies long bridges.

Longer and Longer Concrete Viaducts for Transportation Growing Needs

In towns, light rail transit systems are often carried by viaducts, which are more economical than tunnels.

As a consequence, the number and the length of new long bridges are increasing more than ever. The following table shows the characteristics of some of them.

In order to build these long viaducts in a reasonable amount of time, new construction methods have to be imagined.

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