Cover of Building and Maintaining Bridges to be Sustainable
Building and Maintaining Bridges to be Sustainable
  • Publication no: ABC-WPD005-11
  • Published: 31 October 2011

One of the hottest discussed topics in the international engineering community at present is sustainability of infrastructure with respect to global warming and climate change. Global warming and climate change could result in frequent extreme events such as high intensity rain fall, severe storms, floods and droughts and sea level rise causing coastal lines moving inland, reducing valuable land area and adversely affecting people’s living conditions. As insurance against these possible events and to build sustainable bridges, it is important for us to address these issues at the development stages of infrastructure projects.

In some countries of the world, infrastructures such as bridges, highways, buildings, dams and other structures are approaching their end of design life. Therefore, it is important now for the engineering community to develop strategies that would enable us not only to build new infrastructures sustainable but also develop methods to extend the service life of existing structures.

Strategies need to be developed for keeping existing infrastructures sustainable and building new sustainable infrastructures. This can only be achieved through developing life-cycle management plans that address sustainability issues at feasibility, planning and designing, construction, operation, maintenance and decommission and/or removal stages.

This paper presents a methodology for building sustainable new bridges and maintaining and upgrading existing ones through a planned design, construction and maintenance process with minimum consumption of energy, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and minimum impact on the environment; particularly at a time of increasing pressures for road authorities to increase heavy loads on the road networks.