Testing the New Technology
Before implementing the technology in the design, the first step was to test the beams, which are composed of a fiber-reinforced shell filled with concrete compression reinforcement and steel tension reinforcement along the bottom of the beam. According to John Hillman, inventor of the HC beam, and Harbor Technologies, which manufactures the beam, the technology uses the best attributes of the three materials by providing the strongest, most corrosion resistant beam on the market. Harbor Technologies, a composite manufacturer based in Brunswick, Maine, produced a 70-foot-long scale test of the beam to certify at AEWC. ” The beams easily passed AEWC testing, allowing the Maine DOT to move forward with the bridge design. The construction documents were written by Calderwood Engineering and Hillman’s engineering firm, Teng & Associates, drawn to the specification determined at AEWC. The bridge was constructed ahead of schedule by local contractor Wyman and Simpson, connecting two important Maine tourist destinations in time for summer vacation.
The Future of Maine’s Infrastructure
“I tip my hat to the Maine DOT,” says Martin Grimnes, president of Harbor Technologies, “they’ve been a champion in finding infrastructure solutions, reducing operating costs and extending the lifecycle of their installations.” For over ten years, Maine DOT has held regular meetings with MCA, federal highway representatives and experts from the university and AEWC to discuss project opportunities and challenges with designing with composite materials. “We all hover around the table and brainstorm,” says Grimnes. For Maine DOT, the purpose of the meetings is to gain a better understanding of composites and to better utilize the inherent properties of the product in transportation structures.
Previous to the Composites Initiative, Maine was already home to many composites companies, including marine and custom manufacturers. Today it is still heavy in composites manufacturing and the industry is expanding, due to research and marketing from the AEWC and support from the local government. As for the future of composite technology in the state of Maine, “Currently Maine is a leader in researching, designing and implementing technology for transportation infrastructure. With AEWC in our state and companies like Harbor Technologies, Kenway, Advanced Infrastructure Technologies and several others, we expect to continue to be a leader in bridge infrastructure,” says Benoit.