Civil engineers at Queen’s University Belfast and pre-cast concrete company Macrete Ireland have developed one of the world's longest “flat pack” arch bridge spanning 53 feet (16 meters).

The bridge will be made up of 17 units of precast concrete, each weighing 16 tons, and the bridge will take less than one day to install with a crane. The team used the “FlexiArch” system, which means the bridge will be transported to the location in flat-pack form, but when lifted, will transform under gravity into an arch.

“This innovative system is exceptional as it is easily transported in flat-pack form and then rapidly installed on site,” says Macrete Project Manager, Abhey Gupta. “It is also unique as its strength does not depend on corrodible reinforcement, thus it should have a lifetime of at least 300 years whereas conventional bridges seldom achieve their design life of 120 years.”

The bridge is due to be installed near Portsmouth in southern England and will span the Wallington River in Waterlooville, Hampshire in the coming months.

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