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Arup’s new modular bridge system cuts construction time by 70%

Cinthia Buchheister Cinthia Buchheister Europe Press Office,Berlin
11 October 2018

Arup is testing a new modular bridge system in Germany that will cut construction times by 70%, down to about sixteen weeks from an initial twelve months estimate.

Developed for the North Rhine-Westphalian road construction company Straßenbau Nordrhein-Westfalen, the new modular bridge system can minimize traffic disruption by taking a large amount of construction work offsite. The modular system is currently being trialled in the replacement of two motorway bridge structures at Stiegenkamp and Nordbecker Damm, near Werne, in North Rhine-Westphalia. The assembly works will start in October and are earmarked for completion by the end of the year.

Modular design allows for offsite construction

The modular design allows for large parts of the construction process to be transferred to an offsite production facility: since numerous components can be pre-fabricated, onsite construction work is shortened and traffic disruptions significantly reduced.

The new bridge system allows for the existing foundations to remain in the ground, which further reduces the time required for demolition work and complex earthworks.

3D design allows for more efficient resource use

For the construction phases, Arup has created a detailed 3D design which takes into account the varying ground conditions and ensures a precise and efficient implementation of the design.


A large proportion of the construction modules are being pre-fabricated in the factory. This approach allows for a reduced use of in-situ concrete. The main structures are made of high-performance pre-stressed concrete; as a more stable material, engineers can deliver slimmer bridges that optimize the use of resources, making this new bridge system a sensible long-term innovation for German road construction, both from a sustainability and economic point of view.

The modular bridge system can be adapted to different conditions and be applied to other projects.

The modular bridge system is designed to reduce construction timelines by about 70% to sixteen weeks from an original estimate of about twelve months. Our new process means that we can relocate part of the bridge construction from the road to offsite production facilities. By designing the individual components in 3D and pre-fabricating them, we can shave weeks off the production schedule. The modules are then simply assembled onsite, shrinking project times and minimizing any associated traffic disruptions. ” Markus Gabler Markus Gabler Leader Bridge Design, Arup Germany

The animation below shows the construction of Arup's modular bridge system in time-lapse: