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New composite bridge system re-opens trails for hikers

In 2012, flooding and erosion prompted Ohio’s Beavercreek Township to close a bridge crossing that connected three of the area’s recreational parks—Rotary Park, Phillips Park and the Beavercreek Wetlands Nature Preserve—shutting down access to a number of popular hiking trails. While park employees had pieced together the original bridge from used county highway bridge materials, the Township decided that it was time for something different.

In 2012, flooding and erosion prompted Ohio’s Beavercreek Township to close a bridge crossing that connected three of the area’s recreational parks—Rotary Park, Phillips Park and the Beavercreek Wetlands Nature Preserve—shutting down access to a number of popular hiking trails. While park employees had pieced together the original bridge from used county highway bridge materials, the Township decided that it was time for something different. Composite Advantage, a composite manufacturer based nearby in Dayton, Ohio, was hired to design and build a no-maintenance structure.

Composite Advantage has specialist expertise when it comes to large-sized composite structures. In the 10 years since its founding, the company has developed proprietary molding processes and fiber reinforced polymer recipes that make it one of the few advanced material manufacturers able to fabricate very large, highly loaded structures. Among the products offered by the company are its FiberSPAN bridges and bridge decking systems: lightweight, high strength, corrosion resistant structures characterized by low maintenance and fast installation.
 
“Our FiberSPAN bridge deck products are a good fit for these types of applications,” says Scott Reeve, President of Composite Advantage. “We’re able to provide a total bridge system that includes prefabrication and installation through our partner FRP Constructors.”

Composite Advantage designed the bridge deck to support pedestrian loads up to 85 psf and maintenance vehicle loads. The robust deck was molded to withstand uplift force in the event of a 100-year flood. To give Green County a maintenance free span, the company specified a weathered steel truss 45 ft. superstructure from Colorado-based Big R Bridge. Technicians at Composite Advantage molded two large 3 ½ inch thick, 6-foot-wide Fiber Reinforced Polymer bridge deck panels with black pigment. A brown non-slip wear surface was used to simulate timber planking. Solar-powered lights were also added for illumination after dark.

FRP Constructors transported the prefabricated bridge with FiberSPAN bridge deck to the park and set it in place. Installation took less than a day. The lightweight structure opened up trails that had been closed to the community for three years
 

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