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Bridges and Structural Technology

Bridges and tunnels are key components of the road network system. These structures have to be stable, safe for traffic and long-lasting. The growth in traffic, particularly the increase in heavy goods vehicles and modified forms of vehicle stresses as a result of new tyre and axle systems, require a continual adaptation of the building materials and processes to enable the requirements of safety, efficiency and environmental friendliness to be met.

Civil engineering works should be able to safely withstand the stresses resulting from traffic and the weather and be as low-maintenance as possible. In order to continue to ensure the high requirements of the quality of both planning and performance with regard to stability and durability, building materials and construction methods undergo continual optimisation.

The BASt is developing procedures designed to improve durability and economy as well as undertaking research into identifying damage at an early stage and taking appropriate repair measures.  It is essential to develop a sustainable maintenance system and draw up a holistic life-cycle management.

In order to maintain a reliable road network, new innovative approaches have to be integrated into maintenance management and there to undergo further development. In the future, "intelligent structures" are envisaged to provide real-time relevant information for holistic assessment.

Tunnels too have to sufficiently stable, durable and safe for traffic over their long useful life. At the BASt, the safety of tunnel users and thus the improvement in tunnel equipment enjoy the same high priorities as the concepts designed to raise civil security.

Alongside the safety of traffic users, an equal focus is on a high degree of availability of building structures, as far as research in civil security is concerned. Events that are by no means commonplace are taken into account, which can represent extreme stress both for structures and users.