The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 01:00cat

A temporary, pop-up bridge across the Colorado River made by US Marines engineers

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The reinstitution of bridging when permanent bridges are not available

The ‘Improved Ribbon Bridge’ (IRB) is a modern floating bridge system developed by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), a business unit of General Dynamics. This system entered service with the US Army in 2002, while it is also operational with the Swedish and German Army, as well as the US Marine Corps (USMC). The system consists of modular, foldable pieces (interior and ramp bays) made of aluminum that can be disassembled and transported by aircrafts, helicopters, trucks or railway cars. All bays have an overall length of 6.92m and a total weight of 6,350kg, while their width is 8.63m and the height 1.30m when unfolded. It is also important to mention that the ramp bay can reach bank heights of 2m. When all bays are put together, the structure can be used as a floating bridge or a multi-bay ferry.

Some months ago, a temporary IRB bridge was constructed across the Colorado River, a project in which US Marines worked with Bridge Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group to realize. The bridge was made in support of the Light Armored Reconnaissance(LAR) unit heading down to Yuma and it was the first time someone built a continuous bridge span across the Colorado River in approximately 14 years

The folded bridge sections were carried by trucks and were then launched into the water, where they popped up. Then, boats hooked to these bridge pieces and drove them in place, so that each piece connected to each other like Legos. The ends of this kind of bridges are ramps, so that the military vehicles can cross them safely. The bridge remained in place from September 6th to 17th, and in the video below, you can watch the building procedure. 

Source: Popular Mechanics 

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