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Aluminum for bridges anyone?

The Aluminum Association of Canada is promoting the idea of using shop-fabricated aluminum bridge decks for the many short span bridges that are in need of repair. A study released last November for the AAC and supported by the Quebec Ministry...


The Aluminum Association of Canada is promoting the idea of using shop-fabricated aluminum bridge decks for the many short span bridges that are in need of repair. A study released last November for the AAC and supported by the Quebec Ministry of Finance and Economy found that aluminum would be suitable for about one-half of the 1,000 to 1,400 short span bridges that need to be fixed or replaced every year over the next decade in Eastern Canada and the northeastern United States.

The Minister for the Politique industrielle et à la Banque de développement économique du Québec, Ms. Elaine Zakaïb, said in November when the study was released: “This study sheds light on the potential use of aluminum to maintain and repair bridges, and to consider a new market for our companies in the processing of aluminum as well as for designers, engineers and entrepreneurs in the construction field.”

A demonstration bridge using an extruded aluminum deck is being constructed at Saint-Ambroise, Saguenay-Lac Saint-Jean, Quebec. In Florida, experiments are being done on using aluminum in drawbridges, and Public Works and Government Services Canada is said to be considering using aluminum as an alternative to iron to rebuild the drawbridge over the Burlington canal in Ontario.

AAC President Jean Simard is inviting manufacturers, project owners and their engineering consultants to generate a shift within the next five years: “We have a great opportunity to prove that aluminum, a true Québec product, may be technically viable and economically competitive for short-span bridges. By doing this, Québec will open up a broad North American market for manufacturers. We must seize this business opportunity!”

The AAC market study demonstrated that local manufacturers of aluminum bridge decks could be competitive suppliers within a 1,000 kilometer radius from Québec, covering an area that includes Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Massachusetts and Ontario and New Brunswick.

The study was prepared by Viami International and the Technology Strategies Group.