‘Bridge in a backpack’ saves Vermont time and money

If you’ve driven around the Fairfield, Vermont, you may have wondered what construction crews were doing placing hollow tubing over Wanzer Brook. Don’t worry, the crews weren’t going crazy. They were implementing a new bridge construction method dubbed “bridge in a backpack.”

The hollow tubes are made of a material impervious to elements which allowed construction crews to fill them with concrete. Once the tubes were filled, and put in place, crews immediately began laying a deck across the top.

Using traditional methods, it would have taken several months to replace the 35-foot bridge. Thanks to bridge in a backpack, it should be ready for traffic in just a few weeks.

Although Fairfield is paying just $45,000 on the $900,000 project, the bridge is built to last just as long as traditional bridges. According to the Vermont Agency of Transportation, it should last at least 100 years with little maintenance.

Thanks to new-age methods like bridge in a backpack, only eight percent of Vermont’s bridges are believed to be structurally deficient. That’s down from over 30 percent just a few years ago.