Age-defying Australian-made composite bridges win public works awards


A pair of geopolymer and fibre composite bridges in Geelong has earned three awards and a commendation at the recent Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia Victorian Division awards.

The team behind the bridges was made up of Austeng, Rocla, Inconmat and Deakin University, and the bridges at Seagull Paddock at Cowies Creek were opened in April 2021.

IPWEA commented that the structures were an outcome of a multi-year project by the City of Greater Geelong “using the procurement for innovation process to obtain a new replicable pedestrian bridge design with zero maintenance over the 100+ year design life. 

“Innovation in the structures extends beyond their lifespan to include environmental sustainability of materials used, resistance to fire & chemical damage and recyclability at end of life.”

The project won the Excellence in Public Works Project $0-$2M, Excellence in Environmental Sustainability, and Excellence in Innovation – Regional categories, as well as a commendation in Excellence in Asset management.

The bridges used geopolymer — made of recycled fly ash and highly alkaline liquids — reinforced with glass and carbon fibres, and replaced timber versions.

The City of Greater Geelong, with support from Cleantech Innovations Geelong, tendered for the bridges in 2017. The project has also been assisted through an Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre grant.

The council said that it is currently delivering a third fibre-reinforced geopolymer bridge at Seagull Paddock “through a $500,000 investment outlined in its Proposed 2022-23 Draft Budget.”


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