Retrofitting of structures: What is at stake?

Over any asset’s lifetime, there might be the need to add new functional features in order to better protect the structure itself or its users, or to offer an improved level of reliability or service, for instance:

  • protecting a cable-stayed bridge against fire or blast impact
  • protecting users of a cable-stayed bridge against ice falling from stay cables
  • installing new and better performing safety barriers
  • adding dynamic damping to a structure affected by wind- or traffic-induced vibrations
  • adding redundancy to a structural system to address new threats

Retrofitting components or systems to address these changing demands can have an impact on critical structural members such as stay cables, bridge deck cantilevers, columns and many others. Additional weight might get added or protective devices might potentially impair the required movements of structural components such as cable stays and bearings. In addition, maintenance and inspection requirements might be very different after a retrofit.

The overall performance of the structure – and a consideration of the whole-life costs – must therefore be kept in mind during the engineering and implementation of any retrofit solution.

How VSL can help you

VSL offers perfectly integrated retrofit packages that make use of more than 60 years of experience in the engineering, testing, manufacturing, installation and maintenance of post-tensioning, stay-cable and ground anchor systems, as well as bearings and other structural components.

Whether for existing VSL installations or third-party products, we detail the most appropriate solution to address the new functional requirements while guaranteeing the structural capacity, durability and inspection and maintenance needs of the existing elements.

With our expertise as a specialist contractor operating worldwide we can manage a retrofitting project from start to finish and take the hassle away of having to co-ordinate multiple suppliers and contractors.

What are the VSL retrofitting of structures solutions?

VSL offers a range of retrofit solutions and add-ons to its products and systems that can deliver invaluable new functionality. These include:

  • protection of stay cables and external post-tensioned cables against fire, blast and ice accretion.
  • retrofitting of stay-cable dampers to control vibrations induced by rain, wind and traffic.
  • retrofitting of seismic isolators, dampers and buffers.
  • retrofitting of load cells to existing ground anchors to enable monitoring.
  • implementation of LEDs along a stay-cable’s free length for dynamic lighting effects.
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De-icing solutions: maintaining optimum user safety throughout the seasons

In cooperation with Aarhus University in Denmark, VSL has developed cutting-edge solutions to manage the impact of ice on stay cables and maintain the safety of users throughout the year. Our unique systems, either passive or active, can be used to retrofit existing bridges. The VSL P-IMS, our Passive Ice Management System, is a cable sheath with a raised texture on its surface which retains ice until it melts, managing the risk of lumps of ice falling from the stays. Additionally, the VSL A-IRS, our Active Ice Removal System, enables ice to be removed mechanically, on demand, with no risk of damage to the sheath. These solutions have demonstrated outstanding performance in mitigating rain and wind induced vibrations.

Solutions that can be combined with retrofitting

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