Bridge repairs: What is at stake?

Facilitating the continuous operation of bridges while ensuring the safety of users and the wider public at all times is one of the biggest challenges for asset owners and operators today.

Being subjected to high stresses and exposed to harsh environments, these structures are at risk of ageing prematurely or simply reaching the end of their useful life. At the same time, traffic demand is constantly growing, leading to higher live loads and the need to add lanes to existing bridge decks.

There is an ever-increasing stock of ageing bridges around the world and a large number is affected by corrosion. Many of them are post-tensioned concrete and cable supported structures built in the last 70 years. Every structure is different, but many have been lacking maintenance and inspection for decades and now require heavy maintenance, repair or upgrading interventions to preserve them for the future.

Particular attention needs to be paid to the repair and preservation of critical structural components such as post-tensioning tendons, cable stays, hangers, bearings or movement joints whose failure can lead to major structural damage.

Why and how to anticipate maintenance operations from design stage?

In a bridge construction project, the carbon is mostly contained into the material. Anticipating repair and maintenance operations from design stage is key to extend the bridge’s service life, and to achieve the lowest carbon bridge.

The approach covers four aspects:

The durability of the bridge so that your structure can last longer.
The enablement of efficient inspections and maintenance of the structure.
The monitoring to extend the designed life or the service life of the structure.
The facilitation for future adaptations and change of use.

How VSL can help you

As a specialist contractor and experts in the design, installation and maintenance of structural technologies and systems, VSL can assist owners, concession holders, asset managers and operators throughout the entire lifecycle of their assets.

There is no one solution that fits all challenges.  VSL works closely with all involved parties to find the best combination of individual solutions, and to deliver a tailored and staged inspect, assess, design & build package. We combine our decade-long experience with meticulous attention to details to prevent unnecessary service disruptions, minimise health & safety risks, and avoid financial loss through unexpected events.

  • Asset preservation: VSL offers a preservation plan from the earliest design phase of a construction project to avoid unnecessary service disruption, minimise health & safety risks, and avoid financial loss through later unexpected repairs.
  • Structural repairs : The timely repair or replacement of parts of an asset due to structural deterioration is essential to maintain or reinstate it to a condition that guarantees continued safe use. As specialist in structures and structural solutions, VSL helps owners and asset managers to define a tailor-made package balancing cost, safety, continuity of service and durability to achieve best whole-life performance.
  • Upgrading : VSL delivers a fully integrated service to owners & asset managers who need to modify a structure to accommodate new uses or requirements, such as the addition of traffic lanes or functional upgrades, helping them to secure their asset’s value and comply with the latest recommendations in terms of design codes and safety.

What are the VSL bridge repairs solutions?

We offer tailored-made structural solutions meeting the needs and requirements specific to your bridge or viaduct. These include:

  • Inspection of post-tensioned structures incl. non-destructive testing (NDT) and intrusive methods
  • Inspection of cable supported structures incl. NDT
  • Inspection of concrete structures incl. NDT and sampling
  • Structural assessments
  • Active reinforcement by additional post-tensioning
  • Strengthening by section enlargement, FRP strengthening or the addition of passive reinforcements
  • Load transfers and changes to structural system
  • Concrete repair, crack injection and coatings
  • Cable replacement
  • Bearing replacement
  • Joint replacement
  • Deck or component replacement by heavy lifting
  • Retrofitting of fire or blast protection for bridge cables
  • Retrofitting of structural dampers and seismic upgrading
  • Monitoring

Each of our specialist service can be offered as a stand-alone solution, or as a component of a global preservation, repair or upgrading package.

Solutions that can be combined with bridge preservation, repairs and upgrading

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