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High-Performance (Cost Competitive, Long Life and Low Maintenance) Composite Bridges for Rapid Infrastructure Renewal

The overall objective of the project is the development of a high-performance and cost-effective construction concept for bridges based on the application of fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) for rapid infrastructure renewal in the new Member States (NMS) and beyond.

Tags: Road


Over the last 50 years, the EU’s transport networks infrastructure expenditure related to its GDP has declined by almost 50%. This has resulted in an aged infrastructure, much of which has been built with the technologies and systems developed in the late 19th or early 20th centuries. The consequences are clearly visible through social and economical impacts: traffic delays, congestion, deficient bridges and structures, deteriorating roads and motorways.

To achieve economical, environmental and social objectives, the infrastructure renewal must be done in a rapid, cost-effective, high-quality and sustainable way by reducing production lead-time, manufacturing and maintenance costs, and the environmental impact by lowering energy consumption, waste production and recyclability, and at the same time by enhancing new business models and specialised jobs. The bridges are important elements in these networks, in strategic and logistical terms as well as in economical terms. To avoid the bridges becoming bottlenecks during the upgrading of these infrastructures, cost-effective, quick and sustainable construction concepts and technologies are needed.


The overall objective of the project is the development of a new high-performance and cost-effective construction concept for bridges based on the application of fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) for rapid renewal, providing a longer lasting repair for these infrastructures in the new Member States.

The essential technical elements of the new concept are:

  • deck and beams of hybrid FRP (carbon-glass/thermoset-thermoplastic) composites and pillars of hybrid FRP concrete. The deck concept by itself will be a solution for the renovation of existing deteriorated infrastructures.
  • multi-objective material optimisation for the intended design.
  • Multivariable optimisation criteria that essentially attempt to compromise design objectives.
  • performance-based simultaneous engineering and manufacturing
  • on-site industrialisation
  • flexible design and manufacturing for the one-off, small series and mass customisation
  • development of mobile manufacturing lines
  • new hybrid material combinations for improved fire and high-temperature resistance and recyclability.

Cost effectiveness will be reached by optimising material and design, reducing manufacturing costs and lead-times. High performance will be achieved by performance-based design and manufacturing, and new materials. Energy efficiency will be improved and environmental impact reduced in the whole life cycle of the bridge by the reduction of energy consumption in the on-site manufacturing process and transport of materials, and by improving recyclability through new thermoplastic resins.

Acciona's previous experience - the first carbon-fibre bridge constructed in Spain
Acciona's previous experience - the first carbon-fibre bridge constructed in Spain

Description of work

The HP FUTURE-Bridge project involves research to be carried out to be able to achieve our main objective: competing against bridges made of conventional material through the use of advanced composite materials.

First of all, and in order to be competitive, a life cycle cost model has to be done that will evaluate the sustainability of fibre-reinforced polymer bridge decks. This study, however, will seek to create an even more inclusive analysis by expanding the definition of costs to include social costs, particularly those that are usually ignored in cost analysis studies.

The requirements for new Member States (and others), with their specific cultural, social and environmental idiosyncrasies, will be taken into account to guarantee the viability of this technical solution. In order to achieve this purpose, aspects such as sustainability and life cycle costs will be managed.

The new concept has to be developed, dealing with the overall aspects (components and innovation necessities) of this idea in composite bridges. In order to compare the new concept solution versus the traditional one (concrete and steel), some critical and independent parameters will be used, and to find the best solution, multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) tools will be used. The HP FUTURE-Bridge concept goes together with the development of a performance-based design, which deals with design methodology, modelling, dynamic behaviours and design versus manufacturing interactions, and a performance-based manufacturing, defining a new manufacturing methodology in order to be effective in reducing manufacturing costs and production lead-times. As well as design and manufacturing, advanced materials have to be developed and optimised to find a cost-competitive design. We will also do research to provide suitable solutions to fire problems through suitable fire-protective coatings.


The extensive research programme will be finally assessed through the construction of pilot bridge solutions. These will demonstrate HP FUTURE-Bridge to be a high-performance and cost-competitive solution for infrastructure renewal and new bridge constructions, and this will allow us to expand the idea and create a real business opportunity for HP FUTURE-Bridge through a competitive concept that will face the challenges of the future. Two pilot bridges solutions, one in Slovenia and one in Spain, will be constructed and monitored in order to assess the feasibility and potential in the market of the HP FUTURE-Bridge project and the HP FUTURE-Bridge solution.

HP FUTURE-Bridge logo
HP FUTURE-Bridge logo