Case Study: FRP Carves its Own Way


In 2015, a composite footbridge was fabricated and installed within the central region of Tuscany, Italy. The City of Pitigilano commissioned a complete bridge replacement for one that had deteriorated beyond refurbishment. The challenge of this particular project was that both the bridge and connecting walkways are adjacent to steep cliffs.

Pitigilano was originally established as a village about a millennia ago. Over time, its settlers transformed the village into a city by carving it out of limestone. The location of this project and its environmental surroundings posed maneuverability challenges for machines associated with traditional bridge erections.

Product: Modular Pedestrian Bridge Structure and Deck
Process: Pultrusion, Fabrication
Materials & Sizes:

  • EXTREN® Structural Shapes & Plate

    • channel, I-beam, plate

  • DURAGRATE® Molded Grating

User: City of Pitigliano, Italy

A more modular and subtle installation was suggested with the use of Strongwell’s FRP products for its weathering durability and excellent strength-to-weight ratio. The fabricators used vacuum resin infusion with EXTREN® flat sheet to give the bridge an exterior wooden façade. This aesthetic design helped the bridge blend with the natural cliffside surroundings and seasonal foliage changes. The decking material of the bridge was outfitted with DURAGRATE® molded fiberglass grating and EXTREN® I-beams, channels, and plates were used for structural support and spans.

The pedestrian bridge measures almost 70 feet in length and approximately three feet in width. It serves as a vital travel artery for businesses, government offices, residents, and tourists. It also serves as a direct detour for those not wanting to navigate through the town’s multiple squares, terraces, and main roads.

The end user and fabricators were all extremely pleased with the overall experience of building with Strongwell’s products, as well as the design, shipping, and fabrication experience.

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