A composite footbridge has replaced a 50-year-old timber footbridge in Sedlescombe, Kent. It  is a fraction of the weight of its predecessor.

The production of the footbridge was a result of a partnership between Norco Composites and Concrete Repairs. Driving factors in the development were low maintenance, aesthetics and light weight for ease of installation. The bridge solution also had to be produced at a target cost which would not deter decision makers from selecting composites for their long term benefits.

To meet structural requirements, the bridge used infused unidirectional fibers in the bridge deck and beam cappings combined with overlaid multi-axial fabrics at +/-45 along with a vinylester resin system. According to Norco, the final bridge deck weighed 600 kg (1,322 lb) with the powdercoated and galvanized handrails weighing an additional 400 kg (882 lb). This is more than 3 tons lighter than the wooden bridge it replaced. The bridge was installed within one hour in Seddlescombe with minimal disruption.

“Maintenance of our highway structure asset stock is an ongoing cost burden, and we were pleased to have the opportunity to use [FRP] for a replacement footbridge because it requires minimal future upkeep, says Richard Hammond, structures project manager for East Sussex County Council.