The Use of Fiber-Reinforced Polymers in Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure
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The proven effectiveness of highway crossing infrastructure to mitigate wildlife-vehicle collisions with large animals has made it a preferred method for increasing motorist and animal safety along road networks around the world. The crossing structures also provide safe passage for small- and medium-sized wildlife. Current methods to build these structures use concrete and steel, which often result in high costs due to the long duration of construction and the heavy machinery required to assemble the materials. Recently, engineers and architects are finding new applications of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, due to their high strength-to-weight ratio and low life-cycle costs. This material is better suited to withstand environmental elements and the static and dynamic loads required of wildlife infrastructure. Although carbon and glass fibers along with new synthetic resins are most commonly used, current research suggests an increasing incorporation and use of bio-based and recycled materials. Since FRP bridges are corrosion resistant and hold their structural properties over time, owners of the bridge can benefit by reducing costly and time-consuming maintenance over its lifetime. Adapting FRP bridges for use as wildlife crossing structures can contribute to the long-term goals of improving motorist and passenger safety, conserving wildlife and increasing cost efficiency, while at the same time reducing plastics in landfills.
Bell, M., Fick, D., Ament, R., & Lister, N. M. (2020). The Use of Fiber-Reinforced Polymers in Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure. Sustainability, 12(4), 1557.