On June 16th, 2017, BAM Infra, one of Royal BAM Group’s operating companies in the Netherlands, began to 3D print the world’s first fully structurally pre-stressed concrete cycle bridge. This special cycle bridge has been developed by BAM Infra in cooperation with TU Eindhoven and is part of Gemert Noord-Om, a project that we are carrying out for the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant. Gemert Noord-Om, is a northern ring road that links Boekelseweg road (N605) and the N272 road which runs to the south east of Gemert.

Christophe van der Maat, delegate for the province of Noord-Brabant, was the first in the world to press the print button in the TU Eindhoven lab and start the 3D printer working. The bridge will be ready in mid-September 2017 and will then be placed in the Lieve Vrouwesteeg in Gemert to cross the Peelse Loop river.

'We challenge contractors to now pay even more attention to sustainability and innovation when building new infrastructure, by using new materials or using new techniques. Here we can see the construction world grasping that challenge with both hands, as a result of which we have just launched a world first.'

Christophe van der Maat

Provincial executive delegate

More sustainable

The bridge will be eight meters long and by using 3D printing, less material is needed to make the bridge. Marinus Schimmel: Director of BAM Infra Nederland: 'We are connecting for the future. We are constantly looking for a newer, smarter approach to addressing infrastructure issues and thus making a significant contribution to improving the mobility and sustainability of our society. Innovation plays a crucial role here. 3D printing does away with the need of auxiliary materials such as formwork. This produces significantly less waste and we need fewer scarce raw materials. This way of working also has a positive effect on the amount of CO2 emissions during the bridge production process.’

Less nuisance and disruption

In the future, this production method will enable on-site production and will significantly reduce the construction process and any environmental issues. The bridge to be replaced can stay in place longer and thus the traffic will be inconvenienced by road closures for a shorter time.

Industrial customisation

The 3D printing of bridges enables customisation at any location, at a realistic cost level. Theo Salet, Professor at TU/e: ‘The use of robots enables each design to be realised in a unique way with the same effort. An important additional benefit is that all information gathered in the design process can now also be incorporated directly in the execution. This is an important development in the field of Building Information Management (BIM), because it brings the various parties in the supply chain closer together. Ultimately, it is the end-user who benefits from this, in terms of higher quality and customisation.’