Currently, Australia has around 10,000 aging timber bridges, most of which were constructed prior to 1940. Not only were these designed using lower traffic loadings than are present today, but their members are now severely degraded, suffering from dry rot and termite attack. These bridges form vital transport links, especially in rural areas so their maintenance is vital.
Unfortunately, the funds allocated towards bridge maintenance at the moment are completely inadequate to even maintain the asset, let alone upgrade the timber bridges to concrete or steel. Since the current political climate advocates low taxes combined with health and education funding, the prospects for increases in funding are grim. Therefore, a new method of rehabilitation must be developed that will reduce costs leading to sound maintenance on current funding levels.
In response to these issues, this paper proposes a method of rehabilitating timber bridge girders insitu, using Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer pultruded sections. This paper forms a ‘proof of concept’ of the proposed method and indicates savings of around 70% may be possible, while restoring the girders to their original strengths. Therefore, it is recommended that this proposal is investigated further as the future benefits, both political and economic, could be enormous.