More bridges are built using concrete than any
other material worldwide, demonstrating continued confidence in the
material’s performance and durability. Concrete bridges worldwide
have a clear track record of flexibility and versatility in terms
both of final forms and methods of construction that is hard to
Durability, aesthetics, economic solutions,
simplified construction and rapid deployment techniques all
contribute to making concrete the best construction material for
any bridge project, whatever the size, form or intended use.
Greater construction flexibility can be realised through the many
forms of concrete easily available nationwide, making concrete an
adaptable resource suitable for deployment for even the most
challenging of bridge types or construction sites.
Function and elegance
The range of structural forms achievable with concrete is
limited only by designers’ imagination, enabling the creation of
elegant bridge structures that blend seamlessly with natural
surroundings. Concrete unites both function and elegance in safe,
robust structures, regardless of scale. Architectural surface
finishes can add to visual impacts while at the same time
eliminating the need for cladding, painting and ongoing maintenance
Concrete is ideally suited to exposure to aggressive
environmental conditions, meaning achievable service lives of 120
years or more. Well designed and constructed concrete bridges
require only minimum maintenance to keep them in good working
Concrete’s versatility enables the cost-effective delivery of a
wide range of structural forms and associated spans. For instance,
solutions including concrete arches, slab decks, beam bridges, box
girder, cable stayed, stressed ribbon and inclined frames offer
spans ranging from 5 to in excess of 400m.
Speed and buildability
Adequate pre-planning, precasting of elements and the use of
appropriate technology in design and construction can make concrete
the cheapest and fastest material for constructing durable, quality
bridges. Techniques such as sliding, launching, jacking or modular
construction make concrete bridge solutions quick and
Concrete as a locally sourced material with low environmental
and social impact, it lends itself to structures with a typical
design life of at least 100 years with low maintenance requirements
thereby providing a sustainable solution for bridge construction.
Furthermore, up to 95 per cent of concrete and reinforcement
used in bridges is recyclable at the end of its viable use.
Competitive initial construction costs, coupled with reduced
inspection and maintenance, means concrete’s cost efficiency is
very attractive in the long-term.
For more information on the benefits of concrete bridges,
Concrete Bridges from the Publications Library.