Monday, December 20, 2010
The World's Strangest Bridges: The Neal Bridge
Background: Habib J. Dagher and colleagues from the University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composite Center completed this small road bridge in November 2008.
Why It's Innovative: While at first glance this bridge appears to have a straightforward design, the Neal Bridge is unique because it is supported by a series of 23 arches made from fiber-reinforced plastics that are filled with concrete. "There's been really no new bridge material since high-strength steel and high-strength concrete came in, which was 40 or 50 years ago," MacDonald says. And though the price of composite materials is high, proponents argue that there are significant savings on shipping, construction and long-term maintenance that offset the initial investment.