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Managing Editor  | October 2017

3-D printed concrete bridge opens to cyclists in the Netherlands

According to an article from The Guardian, cyclists in the Netherlands will be able to take advantage of the first 3-D printed concrete bridge in the world, which was recently opened to traffic in Noord-Om, a new section of the ring road around the village of Gemert in the southeastern part of the country.



The bridge being constructed at TU Eindhoven in June.
(Eindhoven University of Technology)


The bridge was constructed by BAM Infra, a local construction company, and was originally devised by a group of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology, which explained the bridge’s genesis in a report from June.


According to TU Eindhoven, using 3-D printing required less concrete than traditional metyhods for constructing the bridge, which means less carbon dioxide emissions in the process. 3-D printing also gives designers a greater freedom in coming up with unique geometries and frames.


The report added that researchers “have succeeded in developing a process to also print the steel reinforcement at the same time. When laying a strip of concrete the concrete printer adds a steel cable so that the bridge is ‘pre-stressed’ so that no tensile stress can occur in the concrete, because this is something that concrete is not able to cope with adequately.”


The bridge is 26 feet long and spans a water ditch to connect two roads. The Guardian article noted that the bridge has been tested for a maximum weight of two tons.


“We are looking to the future,” said the head of BAM, Marinus Schimmel, adding in a statement that his company was constantly “searching for a newer, smarter approach to addressing infrastructure issues and making a significant contribution to improving the mobility and sustainability of our society”.


Another Dutch company, MX3D, is in the process of developing a 3-D printed, stainless steel bridge that will be placed over an Amsterdam canal in June.

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