Train Bridges Made from Recycled Structural Composite Materials

Fort Eustis Transportation School locomotive approaches bridge, which was built to sustain 130 tons.

Centennial Contractors Enterprises of Reston, Va., has built two bridges at Fort Eustis, Va., where the company performs renovation, repair and construction projects throughout the base through a job order contract.

The recycled structural composite (RSC) bridges, replace two existing wood bridges built in the 1950s on Fort Eustis’s railroad system. The transportation school on the base uses the rail system to train soldiers on train operations.

RSC is made of recycled plastics such as milk jugs and old tires. Building bridges with this new material proved only slightly different from using conventional materials.

“You don’t need special tools to work with it,” explained Bart DeForest, senior project manager at Centennial. “No one has dealt with this material in construction yet, so the biggest difference was the learning curve for all involved. We found out that the material is more durable and easier to handle, and didn’t require as large of equipment to move it into place,” added DeForest.

In addition, the bridges require very little maintenance and have the same life expectancy as conventional bridges. The RSC does not leach chemicals or toxins.

Centennial worked with RSC manufacturer, Axion International as well as Parsons Brinckerhoff, Innovative Green Solutions and English Construction Company to complete the project. The construction started in November 2009 and was completed in May 2010, two months ahead of schedule.

For more than 20 years, Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc., has been providing construction solutions supporting government, educational and business facilities and infrastructures, with projects focused on renovation, rehabilitation and repair, including adding sustainable systems into its clients’ existing facilities.