Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two Army rail bridges will be nearly all recycled plastic

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Demolition of two existing short rail bridges is now under way at the Ft. Eustis Army Transportation Corp. base in Virginia to make way for two new bridges that will consist almost entirely of heavy-duty recycled plastic parts.

The prime contractor for the project is Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Axion International Holdings, Inc., is providing holdings, I-beams for pilecaps and main girders, and crossties/curbing. "All parts of the bridges will be made from Axion products except the steel fasteners and bolts,” said the company.

“We are pleased to announce the Ft. Eustis project is under way as we demolish the existing wood spans and make way for two new bridges utilizing our patented thermoplastic technology,” said Axion CEO Jim Kerstein. “Being the first known structures of this kind able to support 130 tons is a milestone achievement, considering the main components of these bridges are made entirely from 100% recycled consumer and industrial plastic. In fact, the only non-recycled plastic components of these bridges will be the steel connectors holding our Axion parts together and the rubber bearing pads that provide cushion between the main girders and pile caps.

“By utilizing recycled plastic, not only will these bridges not rot, rust, or corrode like traditional building materials, they will also help divert literally tons of recycled products that would normally be destined for landfills. This includes household items such as milk jugs, detergent bottles, and car bumpers.”

The new short-span bridges will extend approximately 40 feet and 80 feet, respectively. Each of these bridges are designed to achieve a high-load rating of 130 tons (in order to transport locomotives and freight traffic for military movement and base exercises and achieve a Cooper E60 Rating).