Looking at the future: SUREbridge
Sustainable Refurbisment of Existing Bridges

English video starts at 3:25 minutes.

In the sixties and seventies of the last century thousands of concrete bridges were built in Europe, but many have suffered concrete damage due to concrete rot, heavy loads and the penetration of de-icing salts. Moreover, their capacity has become inadequate due to increased and heavier traffic. Approximately ten percent of all concrete constructions must be dealt with thoroughly in the next few years. Instead of demolishing these bridges and building a new one, SUREbridge provides a sustainable solution.

A partnership of ten European countries, the United States and the European Commission stimulates innovations to improve the infrastructure. Under the name Infravation (Infrastructure Innovation Program), the participants focus on developing new materials and techniques to modernize the highly outdated road infrastructure on both continents. Rijkswaterstaat acts as coordinator and works closely with sister organizations in the countries involved. SUREbridge is one of the most important initiatives within Infravation.

In 2016 SUREbridge was launched: ‘Sustainable Refurbishment of Existing Bridges’. Rijkswaterstaat, Chalmers University of Technology (Malmo-Sweden), AICE Consulting S.R.L. and University of Pisa have worked closely together in this project. Using the InfraCore® Inside technology of the Rotterdam company FiberCore Europe, the capacity and functionality of existing concrete bridges can be increased. Their lifespan is considerably extended, while hardly any maintenance is required in the coming years. The technology underlies fiber-reinforced plastic (composite) bridge decks that FiberCore Europe has been producing for a number of years. Because with the application of the InfraCore® Inside technology the old concrete constructions do not need to be demolished, but with some adjustments can be reused, there is much less inconvenience for local residents – with shorter construction times – and there are important environmental benefits besides the financial effects to achieve.

Prevent unsafe situations
Europe has about one million concrete bridges and viaducts. Ten percent of this must be tackled urgently to prevent unsafe situations. It happens regularly that bridges, especially in the United States, suddenly collapse. The European Construction Technology Platform (ECTP) has calculated that road transport is expected to double by 2040. European governments have calculated that traffic jams cost one percent of the gross national product each year, with bridges among the biggest bottlenecks in the road network. That is why recovery means not only strengthening and modernizing, but often also widening the bridge deck.

Hybride solution

In the coming years about 10 percent of the concrete bridges built in the sixties and seventies must be thoroughly renovated. The costs for this renovation round are approximately 70 billion euros in the EU and the USA. Instead of demolishing the bridge and building a new one, the SUREbridge concept is based on a composite InfraCore deck attached to the top. This new deck can also be immediately wider than the existing situation. Together with the prestressed carbon reinforcement at the bottom, this hybrid solution gives more strength and stiffness, while the weight hardly increases. According to Chalmers Technical University, the savings alone can rise to over 8 billion euros in the EU alone: “Assuming that the proposed method, in the least optimistic case, would result in 20% reduction in the refurbishment costs, it would result in a saving equivalent to €8,000,000,000. It is worth mentioning that this figure just indicates the saving in the initial cost.” 

In order to arrive at a definitive design, FiberCore Europe worked closely with Chalmers Technical University and the Italian engineering firm AICE. SUREbridge as an innovation process has been completed and has now been tested in a 1-to-1 test. Now it is ready for further development into a technology that is applicable to everyone. We are currently working on the first application of SUREbridge in the Netherlands.


More information:


Download the FiberCore Europe SUREbridge brochure here.

Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden)

FiberCore Europe (Netherlands)

AICE consulting- University of Pisa (Italy)

Increasing the carrying capacity of damaged bridges by combining two techniques:

InfraCore composite cover at the top for restoration of the deck and extra pressure capacity

Voorgespannen externe koolstofwapening aan de onderzijde voor extra trekcapaciteit

Functionality and road furniture on SUREbridge

Full-scale tests

Results full-scale tests: 2.6x stronger and robust

Upgrade of capacity and functionality ready!