Innovative auxiliary bridge offers a solution for traffic nuisance during road works

Higher safety and lower social costs KWS (part of VolkerWessels) is introducing an innovative composite auxiliary bridge that will significantly reduce traffic nuisance during road works. Together with FiberCore Europe and Rijkswaterstaat, the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management, KWS developed the smart, temporary bridge 'HUGO': a lightweight, demountable bridge that will be placed on the roadway. Through traffic will pass over the auxiliary bridge while at the same time work will take place under the bridge. A safe working environment for the road worker and a solution for inconvenience during work. After extensive practical testing of the prototype, KWS, in cooperation with Rijkswaterstaat, is now looking for the first projects to apply the auxiliary bridge.

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Nuisance to road users and the surrounding area is usually unavoidable during road works. Sealing off lanes and carriageways is so far the only way to carry out work. Where necessary, diversions are set up in order to handle traffic. This results in traffic jams, inconvenience to local residents and road users and, despite safety measures, often unsafe situations for road workers. Moreover, the social costs are high: traffic measures but also traffic jams cost money. This is a topical issue in view of the usual traffic intensity and the task of major maintenance of bridges and viaducts and the replacement of joint crossings.

Innovating together

KWS, in collaboration with Rijkswaterstaat, started a project to speed up the development of these auxiliary bridges called HUGO. KWS took the initiative to build a prototype with partner FiberCore Europe (FCE). The basis for this is the composite (permanent) traffic bridge of which FCE placed about 100 in the Netherlands alone. FCE also placed (temporary) bicycle bridges in KWS projects. Civiele Technieken deBoer was also involved in the development of the auxiliary bridge. The auxiliary bridge is suitable for the replacement and renovation of joint transitions, major maintenance of viaducts and bridges, the installation, repair or replacement of culverts (domestic and/or ecological), as a temporary ecoduct or as a connection for emergency services or public transport bus lanes.

After extensive testing of the prototype, two complete auxiliary bridges are now available. KWS, together with Rijkswaterstaat, is now looking for the first projects where HUGO can be applied. Suggestions from other road authorities are welcome in addition to potential projects by the two partners themselves. KWS will work with Rijkswaterstaat over the next two years to optimise, deploy and monitor this innovation.

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Flowing through and working at the same time

The auxiliary structure is placed as a 'vertical phasing' over the work area where the work takes place. Above (over the bridge) the traffic will drive safely at a speed of 50 km/h over the roadway on which the work is being carried out. This prevents diversions and congestion on the surrounding road network. This also means that the work is not an obstacle to emergency services and that they can use the existing approach routes. For the road workers, application of the auxiliary construction means a safe, physical separation between the traffic flow and their working environment. The separate working environment has a maximum working height of approximately two metres. By preventing traffic jams and increasing safety, this innovation is of great social value when working on the infrastructure.