Innovative design of composite bridges for medium spans based on rolled sections

Currently on the market available sections made out of fine-grain thermomechanically rolled (TM) and quenched self-tempered (QST) steel (HISTAR®) become more and more an economical and attractive alternative to frequently used welded plate girders in bridge design. Unfortunately the range of span lengths is limited to small and medium bridges – up to about 40-45 m, due to the limited depth of rolled sections.

The report of the R&D study “Innovative design of composite bridges for medium spans based on rolled sections” shows options, how to increase the maximum span lengths of composite bridges with hot-rolled sections. A detailed study on a subsequently built bridge for the city of Olsztyn in Poland was carried out and it could be shown that span lengths up to 55 m could be achieved by using HL1100 profiles in HISTAR460.


Report and design recommendations (EN)


"SBRI" Sustainable Steel-Composite Bridges in Built Environment

In the worldwide infrastructure network especially bridges are of essential importance. The request for sustainable structures is urgent as for bridges lifecycle design is intended to cover a span of more than 100 years. Shifting from an initial cost-effective mode to a lifecycle cost-effective mode seems to be demanding in regard of increasing maintenance, rehabilitation and renewal of bridges also in view of the rapid growing traffic volume on bridges. Within the European funded research project “Sustainable Steel-Composite Bridges in Built Environment” (SBRI) a holistic approach is applied by combining environmental, social and economic indicators. The obtained results provide a basis for the development of European recommendations for the design of sustainable bridges.

  • Final report EUR 26322 EN
  • handbook: introduction of a fully integrated lifecycle model integrating environmental, economic and functional aspects and illustrated by a case study.
  • User-friendly software tool which enables the combined analysis of Lifecycle Assessment (LCA), Lifecycle Costs (LCC) and Lifecycle Performance (LCP) of different bridge case studies and the comparative analysis between alternative solutions.



"INTAB" Economic and durable design of composite bridges with integral abutments

In the design and construction of bridges, questions of sustainability, maintenance and durability are becoming more and more important for European road administrations, in addition to safety and serviceability issues. Therefore integral abutment bridges are becoming highly attractive to designers, constructors and road administrations, as they tend to be less expensive to build, easier to maintain and more economical to own over their life time. Bearings and joints are main sources of maintenance costs during a lifetime. These costs vanish because the bridges are joint- and bearing-free. However, this very advantage complicates the design compared to conventional bridges in some crucial respects. Combined with the fact that most European countries have only limited experience with integral bridges to date, this leads to a reluctance of road administrations to use this bridge type. Thus the main objective of the project is to experimentally and theoretically investigate the behaviour of critical points of integral abutment bridges. Regarding the soil-structure interaction, recommendations are elaborated based on monitoring results as well as previous research and monitoring campaigns. Conventional HP piles and sheet piles are investigated as a foundation. Furthermore a hinged HP connection is developed to decrease the stresses in the pile system. An investigation of the design and construction of the slab to pavement approach is also carried out to avoid major damages to the structure. Finally the most important information is condensed into the essential features in form of a 'Design guide for composite bridges with integral abutments'.

Design Guides



"Combri" valorisation of knowledge for competitive steel and composite bridges

Bridges are an integral part of the worldwide traffic infrastructure and long-span bridges especially contribute to mobility and economy of time in travelling. Improvements of the steel-plated cross-sections of steel and composite bridge structures help to enhance the competitiveness of such bridges.

Herein the aims are the valorisation and dissemination of the knowledge and results which have been acquired within the preceding RFCS research project 'Competitive steel and composite bridges by improved steel plated structures Combri' for practitioners with regard to plate buckling verifications.

The outcome is the Combri design manual consisting of two parts which provide clearly arranged and concise documents for daily use.

  • Part I 'Application of Eurocode rules' covers two composite bridge structures - a twin-girder and a box-girder bridge-on the basis of worked examples for which the knowledge is written down in a descriptive manner and references are given to current Eurocode rules.

Download Part I     



  • Part II 'State-of-the-art and conceptual design of steel and composite bridges' presents the current practice in several European countries and common bridge types as well as unusual bridges for special purposes or development projects. Improvements which can be provided to the design of steel and composite bridges are discussed and the possibilities and restrictions given by the current Eurocode rules are highlighted. In this report, proposals are also formulated to implement the newly gained state-of-the-art knowledge into standardisation via nationally determined parameters (NDP), non-contradictory complementary information (NCCI) and suggestions for the next revision of the Eurocodes .


Download Part II        



"PrECO-Beam" Prefabricated Enduring Composite Beams based on Innovative Shear Transmission

Composite structures are gaining in importance due to the economic and versatile application. A new form of shear transmission — the composite dowel — permits composite girders without an upper steel flange and with enduring shear connection. The composite dowel is produced by cutting a rolled beam with a determined cutting-line into two parts. Due to the high degree of automation and of prefabrication shorter construction times and less amount of work are possible. However, few experiences with continuous shear connectors have been gained so far. In the frame of the project ‘Prefabricated Enduring Composite Beams based on Innovative Shear Transmission’ the economic efficiency of these composite girders — Preco-Beams — has been evaluated.

Composite Bridge Design for Small and medium Spans

In the frame of this project, new concepts for the design of easily buildable composite bridges have been developed wich are attractive for being executed by the main contractor without problems on site. The composite bridge concepts being developed cover the span range of about 15 to 50 m, to extend the traditional span lengths of composite bridges for small and medium spans. Therefore, the new concepts cover about 75% of all span requirements for road bridges. Particular features of these new concepts are the sufficient robustness for execution, cost effectiveness, durability in use and a minimum of construction time