ProLife:Prolonging life time of old steel and steel- concrete bridges

This project is based on three distinctive ideas which each have the potential of saving large money for the European community.

  • Introduction of composite action or strengthening of existing shear connectors by post installed shear dowels. The new technology will be tested and new knowledge will be gained.
  • Introduction of box action by horizontal trusses between the bottom flanges for I-girder bridges, transferring the very fatigue-sensitive I-girders into box girders. Innovative connection of the horizontal truss will be made using technically approved actions for enhancement of the bond/friction between painted surfaces.
  • Effective methods of strengthening old truss bridges. The consulting engineers that participate in project will provide new input and create general guidelines for strengthening of old steel truss bridges.

Bridges are of vital importance to the European infrastructure. With thousands of older steel/composite bridges, there is a demand of rational methods to strengthen the older bridges to compensate not only for their age, but also for higher loads and new codes, of which perhaps the new fatigue rules in EC3-2 will be the hardest to meet.

Work preformed

Increase of load bearing capacity of the trusses by adding concrete slab elements in compression zones (top cord in simply supported trusses) and create a composite structure and exchange the open steel deck with this concrete slab, which will increase the lifetime of the structure.

Increase of the load bearing capacity and lifetime of the steel open deck elements and connections by adding extra steel box longitudinal girders and connect them to the existing ones.

Development of an innovative deck-track ballastless system, by incorporating the railway track in the concrete deck of the composite structure or steel box-girders and reducing the dead weight considerably.

Creation of a practical methodology to realize the deck-track system by using prefabricated elements or insitu technologies.

Development of an orthotropic steel deck solution to reduce the self-weight of the structure, thus enabling an increase in the traffic capacity and a quicker replacement action.

Increase the load bearing capacity of truss bridges by strengthening with different steel alternatives that take advantage of the continuity of the deck over the supports, thus balancing sagging and hogging moments. Address also additional strengthening methodologies based on local composite actions for nodes or secondary elements.

Reduce vibration problems and fatigue effects by adding elements which higher mass and structural damping.

Comparison of strengthening approaches for both railway and roadway bridges.

Maintain bridges in service for some more decades instead of replacing it by new structures at this is a very important aspect in terms of sustainability of our building stock.


Ramböll Sverige
Schimetta Consult ZT GmbH
Alessio Pipinato & Partners Architec
Movares Nederland B.V.

Project details

LocationThe Netherlands
Period2015 - Heden
ClientEuropean Commission - Research & Innovation, Research Fund for Coaland Steel