Realization of precast small and medium span arch bridges

Aesthetics and durability aspects

A bridge does not fulfil its function by simply connecting two river banks or as a means of overcoming an obstacle; it often stands for a main landmark erected by man in a certain territory and strongly influences the overall appearance of its surrounding area. Hence, it is important to pay great attention to the appropriate make-up of the bridge itself and to its appealing insertion into the environment. The use of precast concrete elements is recommended for achieving high durability standards, reduced construction times and top aesthetic quality levels. Moreover, precast elements are useful to carry out projects such as arch bridges which, however, have been dramatically reduced in num- bers during the last decades in favour of other constructive types. The reasons for this tendency are prevalently of an economic and tech- nological nature due to the fact that, during the erection process, arch construction requires provisional formwork that substantially increas- es costs and the need for manual labour. These factors can be significantly and permanently reduced by employing precast. In this paper, some examples of bridge construction are presented which illustrate possibilities of how an appealing structure respecting time and cost factors, as expected by clients while at the same time guaranteeing long lasting durability, can be erected.

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