ORONO – University of Maine engineers are testing a new bridge design that will reduce costs and hopefully build bridges a lot faster.
The bridge is made with a compost girder and a concrete deck on top of it.
The executive director of the composites center Habib Dagher said, “The composite girder weighs less than 2 tons on a large span which makes it very easy to build.”
Dagher said they are loading the bridge up sequentially by loads to see which will be the first to crack, “We think the concrete will crack first. It’s a 72,000-pound truck and on top of that is a 640 pound per foot lane load.”
Once they test that and don’t see any cracks he said they will go beyond that number and see how much more they can carry.
“The goal is to get to 120,00 pounds and not break the bridge,” said Dagher.
Dagher said these bridges can last up to 100 years with little to no maintenance, “The goal here is to produce this here inMainee and sell them throughout the country.”
He said the lightweight highway bridge superstructure can be built in 72 hours which could speed up construction.
Graduate assistant Anthony Diba is involved in this project as a thesis for his masters, but said the more important part is the research, “Deciding okay whats the next step for us? How can we get something innovative something that people would trust and get something new out there.”
He said the team did a lot of research on this and feels confident with the outcome, “Hopefully with this bridge, people benefit for the next 100 years from it so thats the dream.”