Bridge impact protection

Floating barriers can stand by themselves or surround an existing, rigid protective barrier. They soften the impact upon the vessel and help protect it from serious damage, while shielding the bridge support.

A floating barrier can absorb 30–50MJ of energy. That is around ten times the elastic range of the largest rubber fenders on the market. Our QED barrier units are all fully rechargeable. They may be reset within a few days. During which time a notice to mariners should be in effect to minimise downtime for both bridge-

and waterway- a small inconvenience compared to emergency works and repairs to the bridge structure.

Most barrier systems comprise single or twin booms of carefully tuned barrier units. They are usually mounted to floating pontoons that are either installed over piles or attached to existing structures. The central and boom-end pontoons usually include fender walls or integrated energy dissipation units.

Plesae contact us for more information.

Bridge impacts

In an ideal world, every bridge spanning a waterway would be protected from collisions with ships, barges and natural debris. In the real world, however, bridges are often damaged – and occasionally destroyed – when vessels strike their supports.

A vessel or barge impact can exert a huge lateral load on a bridge support. In some cases this can lead to failures in other parts of the bridge, including collapse of spans. The consequences can be severe. They include loss of life, far-reaching economic losses to any region or organisation that depends on the bridge, and long-term environmental damage if the vessel was carrying a hazardous cargo.

The fastest way to protect an existing bridge is to install a floating barrier around any vulnerable bridge supports. Barriers systems are often designed for direct installation onto tubular piles. This way the bridge can remain in service while installation work is carried out.

Working with existing barriers

Some modern bridge supports are already protected by piling, concrete structures, or submerged earth banks. These might not only stop or deflect the incoming ship or barge, but also cause it serious damage and give rise to crew injuries and cargo discharge or even sinking.

Floating barriers will either deflect the vessel back into the waterway or ‘snare’ its bulbous bow, so preventing it from grounding or colliding with existing solid barriers.