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Massachusetts’ Oldest Movable Steel Truss Bridge Marks 10-Year Anniversary of Nation’s Largest Six-Span FRP Composite Vehicle Deck

<strong>Massachusetts’ Oldest Movable Steel Truss Bridge Marks 10-Year Anniversary of Nation’s Largest Six-Span FRP Composite Vehicle Deck</strong>

ALUM BANK, Pennsylvania — Rocks Village Bridge recently marked the 10-year anniversary of its six-span Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) vehicle deck.  Creative Composites Group’s (CCG) FRP composite deck was installed in 2013 as part of a $14 million renovation project managed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The 140-year-old steel truss structure connects West Newbury, Merrimac and Haverhill residents as well as several Southern New Hampshire towns, making it one of Massachusetts’ most heavily travelled bridges. Its hand-operated swing span accommodates boat traffic. In 2022, CCG personnel performed a visual inspection of the 18,776-square-foot FRP deck, which remains the largest composite vehicle span in the nation.

“Technicians found that the FRP deck was in optimal condition with minor maintenance needed for overlay cracking at the joints and connection holes,” says Scott Reeve, business development for CCG.  “It would have been nearly impossible to achieve a bridge that functioned to current safety standards yet maintained the bridge’s character and original metal latticework with a traditional concrete deck. A typical concrete deck weighs 100 pounds per square foot, creating a deadload a historic steel truss span can’t tolerate.  The FRP deck weighs just 25 pounds per square foot. A decade of use also demonstrates FRP’s ability to withstand the effects of a harsh environment and rigorous use.”

CCG prefabricates very large, corrosion-resistant panels at its Dayton, Ohio manufacturing facility. Constructing panels on CCG’s production floor allows the company to coordinate design and construction specifications upfront instead of at the job site. Installation is quicker, and overall costs reduced.

“The Rocks Village Bridge is a good example of CCG’s ability to fabricate very large FRP structures with high structural load requirements,” says Reeve. “The relative stiffness of our fiberglass material makes deflection the driving factor in deck sizing with FRP. Because of this unique element, FRP bridges and bridge decks are built to safety and strength factors much higher than that of conventional material. In short, it means our decks will never break.”

About CCG

Creative Composites Group (CCG) supplies innovative Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) products for major infrastructure markets. CCG has the design-build and structural fabrication expertise to provide engineered systems and OEM solutions. CCG’s combined team of engineers and technicians have been developing lightweight, durable, cost-effective FRP products for structurally demanding applications and corrosive environments for more than 50 years. Many of these products have paved the way for first-time use of engineered FRP composites for demanding infrastructure markets including: utility, rail,  bridges and waterfront applications because of FRP’s high-performance attributes.