New trends in prestressed concrete bridges
M. Virlogeux, Consulting Engineer and Designer
This paper aims to give an overview of the recent evolution in the design and construction of prestressed concrete bridges worldwide. Several major trends are evidenced. Certainly those which have the larger influence for the industry due to their wide applications are the development of external prestressing, now systematically used in some countries for medium span bridges; the emergence of high performance concrete which extends the possibilities at the same time as improving the durability of concrete structures; and the more and more frequent association of steel and concrete to constitute composite bridges of different types and composite elements in bridges, allowing for many innovative structures. Considering more specific applications, a section is devoted to cable-stayed bridges which received very interesting development during the last ten years; and another section evokes the more and more extensive use of heavy prefabrication in large projects, with elements up to several thousand metric tons. The paper concludes with a word on bridge architecture, showing that good structural designs can produce elegant prestressed concrete bridges.