Friday, January 22, 2010

Axion begins construction on railroad bridges made from recycled plastic

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Axion International Holdings, Inc., a next-generation technology company utilizing recycled plastic for high-load industrial products, said that demolition has begun of the current structures at the Ft. Eustis Army Transportation Corp. military base in Virginia in order to replace those spans with two new railroad bridges made almost entirely from Axion's 100-percent recycled plastic structural products.


The U.S. Army commissioned these bridges in 2009 and construction is expected to last four months. Axion is providing all parts for the two Recycled Structural Composite bridges, including pilings, I-beams for pile caps and main girders and crossties/curbing. All parts of the bridges will be made from Axion products except the steel fasteners and bolts.

"We are pleased the Ft. Eustis project is under way as we demolish the existing wood spans and make way for two new bridges utilizing our patented thermoplastic technology," stated Axion CEO Jim Kerstein. "Being the first known structures of this kind able to support 130 tons is a milestone achievement considering the main components of these bridges are made entirely from 100-percent recycled consumer and industrial plastic. In fact, the only non-recycled plastic components of these bridges will be the steel connectors holding our Axion parts together and the rubber bearing pads that provide cushion between the main girders and pile caps."

Kerstein went on to say, "By utilizing recycled plastic, not only will these bridges not rot, rust or corrode like traditional building materials, they will also help divert literally tons of recycled products that would normally be destined for landfills. This includes household items such as milk jugs, detergent bottles and car bumpers."

The new Recycled Structural Composite bridges will replace two wooden bridges that have been taken out of service and they will be completed faster and less expensively than could have been achieved using wood, steel or concrete, Axion pints out. The new short span bridges will extend approximately 40 feet and 80 feet, respectively. Each of these bridges is designed to achieve a high-load rating of 130 tons (i.e., 260,000 pounds) in order to transport locomotives and freight traffic for military movement and base exercises and achieve a Cooper E60 Rating.

The design and engineering work is being supported by Virginia-based Centennial Contractors Enterprises, the prime job order contractor for the project, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The demolition and construction activities are being performed by English Construction Company, Inc. Innovative Green Solutions, an Axion channel partner, introduced Axion to the Fort Eustis project and participated in the negotiation and development of the project.

Fort Eustis is home to the U.S. Army Transportation Corps, which is the branch of the U.S. Army responsible for the movement of personnel and material by truck, rail, air and sea.

Developed in conjunction with scientists at Rutgers University, Axion's technology has resulted in virtually 100-percent recycled plastic materials, Recycled Structural Composites, that are the first known structural products of their kind that can support heavy loads. The company notes that, compared to traditional infrastructure materials such as wood, steel or concrete, Axion's products are more durable and significantly longer lasting.
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