This footbridge was built in 2001 over the high speed railway Madrid-Barcelona, to mitigate the barrier effect in the west part of the city of Lleida. The superstructure is fully made of GFRP (Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer) using standard pultruded profiles.
It proved a challenge to find an appropriate structural form to span the required length using standard GFRP profiles. The final structure is a double-tied arch with a 38 m span, with a rise of 6.2 m and width of 3 m. This bridge is likely to have the longest span in the world using this type of structure, i.e. an arch with GFRP standard profiles. It received the international Footbridge Award 2005 (category innovation) in Venice.
The range of applications of advanced fibre-composite materials is very wide, particularly when minimum maintenance, lightness, ease of transportation, no magnetic interaction or quick erection times are required. The initial cost due to material supply and design is higher when compared to traditional steel-based solutions; however, considerable savings are made on construction and maintenance.
Once the concrete piers were built, consisting of two shafts each, the arch structure was lifted into place. As a result of the material choice, the bridge turned out to be remarkably light, weighing only 19 T. The choice of GFRP over steel was important to ensure no magnetic interaction with the railway overhead wire below.
Sobrino, J.A. and G. Pulido, M. Dolores; “Towards Advanced Composite Material Footbridges”. Structural Engineering International (IABSE) 2: 84–86. 2002.