FRP and GRP Footbridges
Taziker has been involved in the development of an alternative solution for footbridge design that incorporates all aspects from foundations to construction plus future maintenance.
Our solution is to construct the footbridge from UK-sourced, pultruded FRP sections which are stronger than steel, with the added benefit of being maintenance free and a low-carbon, environmentally friendly solution.
With FRP being a lightweight material, the installation of these bridges can be carried out using standard road rail vehicles, negating the need for heavy mobile cranes and the costs they incur in the formation of haul roads for accessing remote areas. The lightweight footbridges are also ideal for use with RapidRoot concrete-free foundations. Low-level lighting can be built into the FRP footbridge using solar powered lighting systems.
All profiles are produced to EN13706 E23 standard under ISO9001 certificated and controlled processes. Incoming raw materials of glass and resin are traced through to finished product, with full traceability on each cut profile length via label noting the date, shift and operative details.
Our FRP/GRP footbridge solution allows a new footbridge to be constructed on a green field site for a fraction of the current cost.
We provide the following services:
- Initial on-site inspections and scoping reviews
- On-site detailed surveys and templating
- Early contract involvement (ECI) designing out risk and value engineering.
- Detailed 2D and 3D modelling of existing and proposed structures and sites.
- Designated Design Manager taking ownership of all aspects of design from initial concept until completion.
Taziker’s research and development of FRP footbridges allowed us to design our very own footbridge innovation: The Legacy Footbridge. This was introduced as a solution for the rail industry to provide rail users and pedestrians with a safe and accessible route across the tracks. The innovative design is unique in its ability to be installed on pre-existing platforms and also seamlessly fit into any environment with its traditional aesthetic.
The Legacy Footbridge holds all the benefits that come with using FRP materials which targets sustainability, durability, efficient installation and cost-effectiveness. Accessibility and security have also been prioritised in this design to ensure we put passengers first.
Around 2,250 of Network Rail’s 6,000 level crossings are footpaths over the railway. These crossings pose a safety risk to pedestrians and cyclists therefore, the most logical action is for them to be replaced with footbridges to avoid unnecessary accidents.
With a vision to eliminate accidents at level crossings, Network Rail has made significant improvements in their management of level crossings, but accidents still inevitably occur.
Why aren’t more footbridges being built?
Current footbridge designs are expensive to commission, disruptive to build and costly to maintain. Steel bridges are subject to rust and need regular painting, while concrete bridges require extensive foundations that don’t meet Network Rail’s high sustainability standards and decarbonisation goals. What’s more, accessible footbridges with lifts have generally been unreliable, prohibitively expensive and complex to install.
The rail network needs a footbridge solution that has the potential to improve safety; has a lower financial impact; minimises disruption to passengers during the installation process; is environmentally friendly; and provides ‘access for all’.
Taziker has designed the Legacy Footbridge to provide the rail industry with an all-encompassing, sustainable solution.
This innovative new footbridge is highly cost-effective, with a flexible, modular design that can be installed in just days, and modular lift options that make accessibility affordable and easy to achieve. By carefully considering the overall design, the structure can sit on existing foundations if required.
The Legacy Footbridge is an environmentally sustainable, low-carbon structure that is highly durable and requires little or no maintenance. It can be designed to suit any span and match any aesthetic, blending seamlessly with stations and locations nationwide.
- By using FRP we are committing to a better environment for the future.
- Lower costs are incurred in the installation and maintenance of the footbridge.
- We have minimised disruption to passengers by reducing the amount of time needed for site installation.
- All materials are sourced and manufactured in the UK, reducing our carbon footprint.
- Efficient and reliable mechanical lifts provide access for all.
- Greater safety is ensured for all pedestrians using the footbridge.
FRP offers high durability and strength which means that little maintenance is required over the lifespan of the footbridge - giving whole life savings. It is anticipated that the lifespan of the Legacy Footbridge will be in excess of 100 years, with the National Composite Centre currently conducting testing to provide the industry with accurate life expectancy details for FRP materials. With extremely high impact resistance, the footbridge elements will keep their shape and form even with heavy usage.
By using FRP in the construction of the footbridge, costs can be kept to a minimum due to quick and easy modular installation, low material costs and little future maintenance.
The footbridge modules can be built and transported to site for safe and simple installation, with less need for heavy lifting on-site. Due to the lightweight nature of the FRP materials, transportation and cranage emissions are reduced which results in a lower carbon footprint.
Quick and easy installation
This brings benefits to the railway due to limited disruption to passengers during the short possessions that are required for the installation. This also reduces the need for a full site compound, further minimising project costs.
FRP has a high strength to weight ratio compared to metal, wood and concrete. This ensures that the Legacy Footbridge is resilient to damage and long lasting.
Our Legacy Footbridge is ideal for use on railway lines with overhead line equipment (OLE) due to the FRP materials being non-conductive. This is a major safety benefit for users of the footbridge and passengers on the rail network. Furthermore, there is no need to install permanent earth bonding or carry out ongoing bond inspections.
The Legacy footbridge will stand the test of time as FRP is resistant to corrosion, rot, mildew, mould, and insects. A long-life expectancy gives the client peace of mind with regards to minimal future maintenance and the associated costs.
With the additional features that are offered with the Legacy Footbridge, the client and users are ensured reliability and safety. We provide long-lasting, practical features that are efficient to install. These can be adapted based on the location to best suit the surroundings and existing infrastructure.
Deck and stair treads
The Legacy Footbridge deck and stair treads have an impressive anti-slip finish. Strong and resilient, the flooring ensures a safe walking experience. Made from glass reinforced polyester (GRP) substrate, the deck and stair treads contain a near-diamond-hard aggregate with a design life of 30 years. We provide this type of deck and stair treads as standard on the Legacy Footbridge to ensure a long life and greater safety to pedestrians.
The Legacy Footbridge will be equipped with low energy lighting to provide additional safety for the public. There are numerous lighting options available to best suit the environment and aesthetic of the local area. Our discreet lighting is designed to achieve the required lighting levels whilst minimising light pollution and we also offer motion sensor lighting which can be powered by solar or wind and backed up with battery power. Recessed units will be used to increase resilience to damage and ensure longevity.
To ensure safety for the public, we can offer CCTV options. Commonly used to detect or deter criminal activity, CCTV can give peace of mind to pedestrians in remote locations. The cameras can be positioned in a location suited to the environment allowing the main span and the stairways to be monitored for reasons such as public safety or vandalism.
The Legacy Footbridge can sit on existing foundations due to the compact and practical design. If a replacement footbridge is being considered on the rail network, it is a simple process to install the Legacy Footbridge on the existing foundations to negate this cost.
If foundations need installing, our FRP footbridge can be supported using traditional concrete options, or concrete free micro-pile foundations. These concrete free innovative solutions reduce dependency on high-carbon concrete for a reduced carbon footprint.
Taziker can provide various types of concrete free foundations and will complete a technical assessment to provide suitable recommendations for the client.
The installation process for concrete free foundations is highly practical, taking considerably less time than typical concrete foundations. This means there is much less disruption to the rail network, putting passenger first by limiting delays to journeys.
There’s no requirement for heavy plant on site to install and only small handheld equipment is needed. Concrete foundations require significant timely excavations and then waiting time for curing and drying - with added weather concerns. Concrete free foundations will be ready for the immediate installation of the structure!
Concrete free foundations are 80% quicker to install and 60% cheaper than concrete foundations. The sustainable benefits, reduced cost and efficient installation process make concrete free foundations the ideal solution for the Legacy Footbridge.
At some stations, the existing platforms may be insufficient in length and width to site a new compliant footbridge. If this is the case, we can provide additional platforms also fabricated using pultruded FRP Class 1 structural sections. The platform would also include anti-slip decking to match the deck and stairs treads on the footbridge.
The same type of concrete free micro-pile foundations can be used for the platform as used to support the FRP footbridge and lift units. Platform Train Interface (PTI) stepping issues can also be eliminated by building the platform closer to the train if required.
By using FRP materials, as used in the design of the Legacy Footbridge, the platforms will be highly durable and a lightweight alternative to conventional platform materials - reducing the installation time, whilst improving the lifespan.
FRP palisade fencing will be used to surround the platform, ensuring maximum security and safety. It has an exceptionally long life and is non-conductive, making it ideal for areas where a source of electricity is present.
The Legacy Footbridge has been developed with an option to include lifts within the design, giving the rail industry a complete access for all (AFA) solution.
With Network Rail’s long term safety vision being ‘no accidents at level crossings’ and their obligations under the Equality Act 2010 to improve access for disabled passengers – we have provided a trustworthy solution for crossing the railway tracks. In addition to providing disabled access, there is also a responsibility to provide safe access for those with luggage, children or pushchairs - and the Legacy Footbridge lifts provide safe travel for all.
Access for all
The modular lift units have been purpose built to fit seamlessly with our footbridge.
Easy to transport to site, the lifts are delivered as fully completed modular units. They are lifted into position as a complete unit and lowered onto pre-installed foundations for rapid installation.
The lift has a robust curved door with minimum moving parts compared to existing sliding door designs. This has proved to be highly reliable. The units provide easy maintenance with durable mechanisms and easy access to key components. Redundant drive motors ensure that if the main motor fails, control automatically transfers to the redundant drive – removing the potential for breakdowns. An added benefit to the lift design is their Uninterrupted Power Source (UPS) which is included in case of a power cut in the area.
They can be maintained from ground level, within the lift, or remotely via video playback, and are fully trackable via dial-up or mobile broadband connections.
Engineered for lasting performance
The lift unit uses a proven certified lift door controller with 3D detection light strips to protect users. The main mechanism is designed for in excess of 15 million cycles and has undergone extensive testing, using automated devices to impede closure.
Designed for user convenience
The lift units are designed to provide easy access for all with a wide door opening suitable for a wheelchair, and generous internal width to allow for wheelchair rotation. Each lift includes a full light panel in the car roof, rain canopy above the entrance and an intercom for emergencies.
The Legacy Footbridge solution with lifts included provides an accessible route across the railway, which is obstacle free, easy to use and useable by everyone.
We were proud to have been shortlisted in the CN Specialist Awards 2021 in the category of ‘Innovation of the Year (Contractor)’ and attended the ceremony in October 2021.
After the increasing success of the Legacy Footbridge during the first half of 2022, we were shortlisted for both the CN Awards 2022 in the ‘Best Innovation’ category, and the CN Specialist Awards 2022 for ‘Innovation of the Year (Contractor)’.
As part of the judging process for both of these awards, we were required to present our solution to a panel of judges, where we discussed the innovative properties of the bridge, as well as its increasing success in the rail industry.
In July 2022, at the CN Awards, the Legacy Footbridge received the ‘Highly Commended’ status!
The winners of the CN Specialists Awards will be announced on Thursday 22nd September at The Brewery, London.