A new study shows how an aluminium bridge could be a cost-efficient and climate-friendly alternative for the new coastal highway in Norway.

Hydro and an external team of renowned structural engineers, business experts and researchers have investigated the feasibility and cost of replacing conventional steel with aluminium as a construction material for long-suspension bridge girders.

“The study is very encouraging and could potentially be a game-changer for bridge building and the use of aluminium in new ways in the future. It focused on what could be the longest aluminium bridge in world: 1,720 meters, 1,250 meters of which would be aluminium, equivalent to 8,000 to 10,000 tonnes,” says Thomas B. Svendsen, Market Manager in Hydro Extruded Solutions.

With the Langenuen project in Norway, we are getting closer to see if it is feasible to meet all the relevant design criteria for the bridge girder with aluminium solutions, including global stability, local stability, fatigue, ultimate global stress levels, and deflections.

“Aluminium has several advantages. An aluminium bridge does not corrode because the oxide coating of aluminium protects against corrosion. Paint is therefore not needed. Aluminium in the bridge can contain up to 100% recycled material, so aluminium is both a climate-friendly and cost-reducing material choice,” says Daniel Tran, risk engineer at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.

New aluminium frontiers

The proposed Langenuen bridge, part of one of the largest infrastructure projects in Norway, the new E39 Coastal Highway Route, aims to reduce travel by replacing ferries with bridges, among other things.

The “Langenuen suspension bridge – Aluminium bridge girder alternative” report demonstrated that it’s possible to save time and money on production, material and maintenance by switching from steel to aluminium. Moreover, the technology could potentially be used in other suspension bridge girders.