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Key issues

On 9 July 2020, the European Bridge Forum was held. This was the first specialist conference to be staged by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure during the German EU Council Presidency.

Among other things, the German EU Council Presidency stands for further steps towards modern mobility. By adopting a New Mobility Approach, Germany wants to gear the transport system throughout Europe to sustainability and climate change mitigation and at the same time make investment to future-proof economies, businesses and jobs in the EU. For this purpose, Europe also needs high-capacity and modern transport corridors and a modern, crisis-proof TEN-T. During the COVID-19 pandemic, reliable supply chains are even more important than before, and they can only be ensured if infrastructure and, in particular, bridges can be operated safely. The European Bridge Forum addressed these important issues.

Bridges are exposed to high stress throughout their entire service life. Therefore, bridges have to meet enormously stringent requirements to ensure reliable operation and low risks of failure. Infrastructure users in Europe trust that requirements are reliably met when they travel all across Europe by car or when goods are transported in all directions.
Therefore, clients and operators have to ensure not only good planning and construction processes but
also the use and operation of bridges by applying suitable monitoring measures. Resilience and
sustainability are the key words.
What is the situation like in the countries of Europe?
To what extent are the countries different and what do they have in common?
What approaches can be pursued jointly and how can the digital revolution help here?
Those were the key questions. The participants, in common with the European Commission and Member States were in agreement that we are about to embark on a new path together. With the European Commission's plans for the future, there are fundamental considerations taking place all across Europe that will bring Member States closer. Learning from one another and evolving commonalities in a targeted manner will determine the way forward. Digital inspection techniques and methods can make a major contribution to this. It was figured out that:

  • We have to focus on load-bearing capacity of TEN-T networks and tackle overloading.
  • Requirements for bridges with regard to climate protection and resilience are of central importance.
  • Basic common requirements for the TEN-T networks with regard to bridges should be developed.
  • Strengthening and better EU-wide networking of research work on structures is essential.

 

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