Pedestrian bridges are a mainstay of parks, campuses, and urban architecture, but they do come with a unique set of constraints so they are to remain safe for the increasing number of recreational users and commuters. Pedestrian bridges must maintain their non-slip surface when exposed to different environmental conditions, including rain, snow, and more severe weather threats; as well as snow clearing equipment.
They must also be carefully engineered to withstand a range of loadings and types of traffic without experiencing undue wear. In some cases, this means congested human traffic including fully packed bridges watching holiday events. This is also scooters, bicycles, and skateboards. Larger bridges must handle maintenance vehicles and emergency vehicles when the pedestrian bridge is the quickest path for people's safety. All of which can put additional strain on the bridge, the decking, and its surface.
The Creative Composites Group supplies engineered fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) decking to ensure that pedestrian bridges hold up to all of these pressures with little to no maintenance required. Our FRP structure is composed of a protective polymer matrix supporting high strength fibers—yielding a lightweight material that is sturdy but comfortable for pedestrians.
We incorporate corrosion-resistant polymers to prevent degradation, leading to long and maintenance-free life cycles. Thanks to these unique construction details, FRP decking is strong, durable, and infinitely adaptable: our decking is compatible with nearly any superstructure configuration and easily incorporates design features like crowns, skews, or curbs. A full range of sizes, shapes, and depths are available, as are different combinations of strength and stiffness tailored to meet any load requirements.
Two main requirements for many pedestrian bridges are shape and safety. While pedestrian paths need to be designed to be non-slip to prevent falls, there are other safety considerations as well. For instance, existing bridges are often converted to pedestrian walkways, but in these cases, the existing structure has already accumulated wear over time. To prevent undue strain on a structure that might already be fragile, the decking design needs to distribute traffic evenly without adding too much unnecessary weight. Widening the path with concrete may be an option for newer structures, but it’s impractical and often completely impossible for aging bridges: the amount of concrete needed for a sufficiently wide path is simply too heavy for decades-old supports to handle.
These safety concerns are especially pronounced with shared-use bridges, which might see any combination of pedestrians and bikers on a given day. A shared-use design warrants extra width to prevent collisions, and it must also support heavier and more variable weights.
Installing an FRP deck addresses all of these concerns for both new and old bridges. When considering a newly designed pathway, high-performance is critical, but so is longevity. FiberSPAN™ decking protects your investment with an incredibly durable, corrosion resistant structure that provides for up to 75 years of design life. And because FRP decking is lightweight and flexible, it minimizes stress on the underlying structure, making it ideal for renovations.
Whether the structure is to go in a park, across a body of water, or around an office building, the shape needs to mesh with the surroundings while still allowing safe passage for the expected level of traffic. Whatever the final form ends up being, an FRP surface is easily customizable to fit both physically and aesthetically. Our FRP decking is suitable for any size, shape, or skew.
Thanks to this flexibility, FRP decking is perfect for bridges ranging from short, straight, and level to long, complex, and winding. And with custom colors available, the surface will complement the existing environment, so you won’t have to sacrifice appearance for a resilient, performance surface.
At Creative Composites Group, we’re committed to meeting your requirements with precision and professionalism. We’ll work closely with your design team to provide the ideal FRP structure for your project, considering not only weight and safety but also aesthetic traits. We’ve constructed curved decks, cantilevered decks, and decks ranging in size from 600 to 18,000 square feet. No shape is too complex for our talented engineering team, and we execute every project with an eye toward safety and functionality, as we strive to fulfill your specific vision.
Compared to more traditional decking materials, FRP is superior on many levels. Our FRP panels offer the following benefits:
Heavy Duty Planking designed to mimic and replace wood timbers. This product is cost effective choice for short span bridges with constant thickness decking. HD Planking is a pultruded profile that can be installed just like wood planks. LEARN MORE>>
Molded FiberSPAN™ panels for larger bridges incorporating design shapes and functional features such as crown, cross-slope, curbs, and drainage systems.
The large, pre-fabricated FiberSPAN™ panels are a sandwich structure construction for maximum design flexibility to meet all loading requirements and support conditions. There is a fiber-reinforced foam core enclosed within two fiberglass facesheets to create the sandwich structure. The fibers of the internal webbing are packed tightly together and oriented at ± 45° angles, which, taken together, allows for maximum shear properties and crush resistance. We use a closed-cell foam to create the shape and eliminate open cavities where water could collect.
The decking panels provide strength to handle a uniform load of 90 psf for all designs, complying with regulatory standards for pedestrian bridges (per the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, or AASHTO). Concentrated wheel loads are reacted by the internal webs, supporting emergency vehicle access where necessary. Individual span
limits based on superstructure support vary depending on L/D deflection criteria.
On this page, we’ve only begun to outline the clear advantages and potential applications of FRP material. If you’re considering incorporating FRP decking into your next pedestrian bridge, we’ve compiled many additional resources to help you decide. We encourage you to view our extensive list of case studies and project summaries to see what a Composite Advantage FRP deck looks like in application.
For the most comprehensive treatment of FRP properties and design considerations, download our eBook, which provides more detail about our capabilities and the general use cases for FRP decking.
Once you’ve identified FRP decking as the best material for your project, our team is ready to help you through the quote request and design process.
The Creative Composites Group has over two decades of experience in engineering the most innovative and durable FRP composites, and we lead the industry in providing innovative and functional composite solutions. No matter how complex your constraints, we are confident that we can develop a plan to successfully outfit your bridge with flexible and durable FRP material.
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