Scaffolding in the infrastructure sector - types of scaffolding and challenges in bridge construction


Scaffolding in the infrastructure sector - types of scaffolding and challenges in bridge construction

Wherever transport networks, bridges, public buildings or even supply and disposal facilities such as waterworks, energy or communication networks are newly built or maintained, scaffolding is usually not far away. This is because infrastructure projects make up a large part of the areas in which scaffolding is used. And the global demand for the renewal of infrastructure buildings is huge. One of the most relevant examples: bridges.

These inevitably reach the limits of their service life at some point. The result is necessary renovation and renewal. Of course, this also poses one or two challenges for scaffolding. Read on to learn what needs to be considered when scaffolding bridges and what type of scaffolding is used for which application case.

Types of scaffolding for bridge construction and renovation

Imagine your daily trip to work - and just leave out the bridges you cross along the way. Quite difficult to reach your destination, isn't it? Clearly, bridges are an indispensable part of our infrastructure. Almost unnoticed, they make our everyday lives much easier. If they are not passable or even missing altogether, we are quickly confronted with tedious detours – if we can still reach our destination at all.

No surprise then that there is much to consider for the scaffolder when a new bridge is to be build or when reparation work at an existing bridge needs to be done. The scaffolds used must at best not cause any major obstruction to the traffic routes that the bridge provides or bypasses. And there’s much more to consider when erecting a scaffold around a bridge:

  • Lack of floor space for the scaffolds, e.g. if the bridge bypasses water or a road.
  • Great heights that might require a lot of scaffolding material.
  • Architectural features that require complex statics.
  • Difficulties transporting the scaffolding material to the project site, e.g. if the bridge bypasses rough terrain.
  • Possibly necessary support structures, especially when building new bridges.
  • Means to ensure environmental and water protection, but also noise protection can be necessary.

What type of scaffolding is used for which bridge project?

In order to be able to cope with these challenges, sometimes complex scaffolding constructions are used. Which scaffolding is selected for which type of bridge project depends, as is so often the case, heavily on the nature of the work. Also, different types of scaffolding are often used at the same time during a bridge project, especially since the piers and superstructure of the bridge usually have to be scaffolded separately.


Modular scaffolds in bridge construction and renovation

Because of their versatility, scaffolders particularly like to opt for modular scaffolds such as the Scafom-rux RINGSCAFF scaffolding system for bridge projects. These can be adapted particularly flexibly to the architectural features of the bridge and have a high load-bearing capacity, which is particularly needed when working with heavy materials. Modular scaffolding systems such as RINGSCAFF can also be used as shoring or falsework, e.g. to support newly built bridge sections until they are themselves load-bearing. For more information on modular and system scaffolding, click on the link.


Modular scaffold RINGSCAFF at suspension bridge in Cologne, Germany.


Suspended scaffolds in bridge construction and renovation

If water or traffic flows under a bridge, a classic standing scaffold is simply not feasible. And that is exactly when suspended scaffolding comes into its own. They require no floor space and allow work at great heights with a comparatively little amount of material. Difficult-to-reach working areas such as the bridge substructure can be made accessible in a safe way with flexible modular suspended scaffolding such as Scafom-rux RINGSCAFF Sky. For more information on suspended scaffolding, click here.


The Elstertal bridge in Saxony, Germany, was scaffolded with 70.000 m3 RINGSCAFF modular scaffold and 17.000m3 suspended scaffold.


Facade scaffolds in bridge construction and renovation

Facade scaffolding is probably the most frequently used scaffolding in renovation and refurbishment. They can also be used for work that needs to be done on a bridge, for example for minor corrosion protection work. However, for reasons of cost and time, the use of façade scaffolds in bridge projects is rather rare, so that modular and suspended scaffolds are preferred.


70,000 m3 RINGSCAFF modular scaffolding for renovation of Elstertal Bridge

The renovation of the Elstertal Bridge in the Vogtland region of Saxony, Germany, demonstrates how spectacular scaffolding projects on bridges can be. Watch the video here:



Are you interested in our scaffolding solutions for bridge construction? Then please contact our team.


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