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Wirkowice composite bridge: Europe’s first road bridge with Arcorox® 460 weathering steel

Completed in October 2020, the Wirkowice bridge in Poland is the first road bridge in Europe to be constructed with S460J2W weathering steel sections. It was built with Arcorox® beams, produced by ArcelorMittal Europe – Long Products.

Located in Wirkowice in the Lubelskie (Lublin) province of Poland on the Wieprz River, the Wirkowice composite bridge is the result of the ‘Wieprz River road bridge reconstruction on 3142L district road’ investment project. The general contractors, Mosty Zamość, completed the work at the start of October 2020, well ahead of schedule, in order to allow local residents to use the new crossing as quickly as possible.

ArcelorMittal’s expertise helps to optimise the design

The bridge was originally designed as a continuous, three-span steel-concrete composite structure with a concrete slab. The main structure consisted of four rolled HL1000A girders in S355J2+M grade and steel crossbeams of HL1000A in S355J2+M grade. Shear studs, welded on the upper flanges of the beams connect the steel sections with the concrete slab to a composite load bearing structure .

ArcelorMittal’s Steligence® team, made a counterproposal to convince the customer to change the design. As part of the design optimisation, a composite steel structure with the use of rolled profiles in the new S460J2W + M steel grade according to PN-EN 10025-5:2019 was proposed. HE900A profiles were used, which allowed for weight reduction and an increase in bridge clearance. The S460J2W steel grade, dedicated to hot rolled profiles, is known as Arcorox® 460. This steel is characterised by a high yield strength of 460MPa and, characteristic of steel according to PN-EN 10025-5, increased resistance to atmospheric corrosion without any further corrosion protection needed.

Overall, this second design brought significant advantages, such as optimised tonnage, lower initial cost and lower maintenance costs for the investor.

As part of ArcelorMittal’s standard solution,the cross-bracing elements were also optimised – the welded steel cross beams at support and in span were replaced by concrete crossbeams for the end supports and intermediate pillars, without the need for span crossbeams. This design is in line with the Ministry of Infrastructure’s guidelines as set out in the ‘Directory for Typical Road Structures, Bridge Structures, and Culverts’ (Katalogu Typowych Konstrukcji Drogowych Obiektów Mostowych i Przepustów).

Arcorox® in another project in Poland

Since the beginning of 2021, a second bridge is under reconstruction in Poland using the Arcorox® 460 weathering steel solution as part of the ‘Giełczew River road bridge reconstruction on 2118L district road of Biskupice – Fajsławice’ investment project.