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First Major Road Project in Victoria To Use GFRP Reinforcement in Bridge Retaining Wall Panels

In collaboration with Seymour Whyte and Madewell Products, Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer Rebar (GFRP) has been used lieu of conventional steel to reinforce bridge wall panels produced by Rapid Pre-Cast Panels in Pakenham for the Pound Road West Upgrade in Dandenong South.

The project involves a new bridge over the Cranbourne rail line to remove the dead ends at Remington Drive and Pound Road West. The bridge will provide a second connection between Abbotts Road and South Gippsland Highway, improving access to the freeway network and reducing travel times for businesses.

Read also: Sustainable construction on Pound Road West Upgrade

The project is targeting an ‘Excellent’ sustainability rating for project design and as-built assessment, from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) – Australia’s peak industry body for advancing sustainability outcomes in infrastructure.

The project’s sustainability initiatives are aimed at managing climate change risks, developing climate-resilient infrastructure for our communities, and maximising the sustainable social, economic and environmental outcomes of the project.

glass fibre reinforced bridge wall panels

Kerolos Kodous, Operations Manager at Madewell Products, said “Glass Fibre reinforcement isn’t new in Australia. It has been specified and used by the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, by Public Transport Victoria for the Level Crossing Removal Project as well as The University of Wollongong’s Molecular Horizons building which houses the most powerful Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM) which are so sensitive, they need to be completely isolated from all forms of vibration and magnetism. What makes the Pound Road project so special for us is the strong focus on sustainability, short- and long-term cost savings and innovation when looking for building materials.”

The benefits of glass fibre reinforced polymer over conventional steel for concrete reinforcement are

Non-Corrosive 

  • Most concrete bridge infrastructures start to deteriorate only after 30 years of service (Austroads, 2016)

  • Repair or replacement costs associated with steel corrosion in Australia are estimated at AU $13 billion per year

  • The risk of corrosion is likely to increase significantly due to climate change (Wang et al. 2012)

  • GFRP is impervious to chloride ion and chemical corrosion

2x Stronger Than Steel

  • 2x the tensile strength of steel
  • 20x the fatigue resistance

  • No ongoing maintenance means time and money saved over its long lifespan

Non-Magnetic

  • Transparent to magnetic fields and radio frequencies

  • Electrically and thermally non-conductive

75% Lighter Than Conventional Steel Reinforcement

  • GFRP 2100 kg/m3 vs Steel 7800 kg/m3
  • Fewer resources (labour and machinery) needed to transport and handle on site

  • Fewer injuries of handlers

28%** Lower Carbon Emissions For Manufacturing GFRP

  • Total emission factor for 1 m of 16mm GFRP= 1.7352 kgCO2eq/m

  • Total emission factor for 1 m of N16 steel rebar = 2.411 kgCO2eq/m
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    References

    **Dong, S., Li, C., & Xian, G. (2021). Environmental Impacts of Glass- and Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Bar-Reinforced Seawater and Sea Sand Concrete Beams Used in Marine Environments: An LCA Case Study. Polymers, 13(1), 154. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010154

    **Tetsuya, S.; Jun, T. Prediction of energy intensity of carbon fiber reinforced plastics for mass-produced passenger car. In Proceedings of the 9th Japan international SAMPE symposium, Tokyo, Japan, 29 November–2 December 2005; pp. 9–14.