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Precast concrete specialist ABM Design and Build, the UK and Ireland licensee for the Matière modular bridge system, has developed the world’s first Matière 14.5 metre span box bridge to span a twin track railway. The Opti-Cadre design has been independently verified by ARUP and has a model Approval in Principle from the UK Highways Agency.

The pioneering design maximises available headroom and is the ideal box bridge for rail and road projects where clearance safety margins are critical, especially when spanning twin rail tracks. The speed of erection of the Opti-Cadre structure also greatly reduces the possession time over rail lines and can significantly improve overall logistics for highway projects.

The first large scale application for the 14.5 metre Opti-Cadre is on the recently opened Newry to Dundalk section of the A1/N1 Dublin to Belfast motorway, where it bridges the main rail lines. Here a 78 metre length overpass was constructed during 11 overnight possessions with minimal disruption to the normal train service. Rapid completion of the bridge was crucial to the on-time completion of the project, enabling the main contractor, a joint venture consortium consisting of SIAC construction and Ferovial Agroman (Ireland), to proceed with the construction of the motorway embankments.

There are over 10,000 Matière installations in use around the world. The system is based on precision precast concrete modular elements comprising free standing walls and over bridging units. These simple and robust ground-interactive structures are quick to install and offer substantial cost and time savings over conventional in-situ construction. Once installed, Matière box bridge structures require only minimal maintenance.

Originally conceived as a concrete arch based system, the box bridge Matière variation is a design that has been extensively used by ABM and that has attracted lots of interest from engineers and contractors. Experience in the design and erection of scores of these structures has resulted in the development of the wide span 14.5 metre Opti-Cadre. Advanced computer-aided modelling techniques were used during development to provide an extended span, with maximum strength.

ABM provides a complete service from concrete bridge concept and design through to manufacture and erection. In addition to Matière structures the company can supply parapets, retaining walls and other precast elements required to complete the project. All design, manufacturing and on-site processes are subject to quality assurance procedures.

More Information

Mike Sanderson, Business Development Manager, Tel. 01777 872233
Fax. 01777 872772 E-mail: Web:
ABM Design & Build, Ollerton Road, Tuxford, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG22 0PQ

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