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Bridging the design gap

by Kim Kemp on May 8, 2016

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Designers, owner-operators, engineers, constructors, geospatial professionals and governments improve quality of life for all by creating and operating the buildings, roads, bridges, airports, and other structures and systems that help sustain society, the environment, and economies around the globe, so says, Rachel Rogers, marketing director, Bentley Systems.

“Nowhere is this work more evident than in the Middle East, where infrastructure projects continue to be launched to meet growing demand for this region,” she continues, adding “Here you see some of the most innovative and challenging projects, many of which used Bentley software. Among these include the design and construction of the iconic Sheikh Zayed Bridge, a new terminal and roadways for Abu Dhabi International Airport, and the Regional Road South in Kuwait.”

Rogers explains that all of these challenging engineering projects began with a model and used a BIM methodology that gives engineers the ability to envision the project before it is built, make decisions earlier in the process, and improve ROI at every step. “By combining an intelligent 3D model with proven collaboration software, users are able to receive the right content, at the right time throughout the project’s lifecycle, whether it be a road, bridge, rail, transit, or hydrology project,” she attests.

According to Rogers, transportation professionals rely on Bentley technology and BIM advancements to help provide an innovative approach to road and bridge design, construction, operations, and project delivery. The process enables intelligent and information-rich modelling for use throughout the lifecycle of an asset to connect design, construction, operations, and maintenance in a collaborative environment.

Sheikh Zayed Bridge

The Sheikh Zayed Bridge, an 842-metre-long structure is noted for having the most intricate bridge design ever constructed and is the iconic gateway to Abu Dhabi Island. The late, award-winning architect Zaha Hadid conceptualised the structure to represent desert dunes, defined by continuous sweeping asymmetric arches that pass through the centre of the bridge to then splay outside the deck and provide the entrance to the island.

These outer cells give the deck a striking open appearance and is enhanced by feature lighting.

“The highly irregular nature and varying shape of the structure posed many engineering challenges,” Rogers outlines and continues to explain: “The arches support two 24-metre wide post-tensioned concrete decks, each carrying four-lane highways. The structure twists and element sizes vary in three dimensions, with few surfaces being truly horizontal or vertical.

“Such an unusual shape causes unique force effects beyond those normally dealt with, and required rigorous 3D analysis to determine the force effects. The extensive analysis required to investigate problems and find design solutions was performed using Bentley RM Bridge. A 4D step-by-step analysis of the construction sequence enabled swift resolution of any issues, resulting in cost savings during construction,” Rogers adds.