IN: Inspiration

Rewarding Green Innovation

The world’s largest concrete arch bridge for high-speed trains wins top accolade


Green innovation won big at the 2018 American Concrete Institute (ACI) Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards. An initiative that rewards excellence in creativity and technology, this year’s accolades were bestowed in Las Vegas, USA, on 15 October 2018.

Honouring projects that envision creative and innovative solutions is the goal of the ACI Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards. “Now more than ever, concrete design and construction projects must integrate creative techniques and technologies to keep up with ever-evolving economic, environmental, and aesthetic demands,” says the ACI’s official website.

While the best concept wins overall, the ACI takes entries for a number of awards categories, including decorative concrete, infrastructure, repair & restoration, low-rise buildings and high-rise buildings. For 2018, the top honour, reserved for a project that surpasses all others, went to the world’s largest concrete arch bridge for high-speed rail service.

Once complete, the Viaduct Over River Almonte in Garrovillas de Alconétar, Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain, is expected to carry rail traffic travelling up to 350km per hour. Its length is an astonishing 996m, making it Spain’s largest railway bridge. Plus, it is both eco-friendly and technologically innovative.

Builders used state-of-the-art technology to monitor the viaduct during its construction and this same system will be used to provide service information when the viaduct is complete. Construction used high-performance, self-consolidating concrete, a mix that requires little or no vibration while placing.

High performance, self-consolidating concrete is made using plasticisers that produce flowing concrete without compromising traditional concrete’s mechanical and durability characteristics. This saves time during construction.

When it comes to innovation, the viaduct’s achievement is not just technological. The cement industry faces a challenge globally in climate change, to which it is a major contributor. The designers of Spain’s largest railway bridge seem cognisant of this, for the bridge includes several ‘green’ features.

The building materials that were selected are durable while the maintenance will be expedient. A barrier will guide birds upward and above the overhead mast line.

With its sheer size, eco-friendliness and complexity, it is no wonder the ACI gave top colours to the Viaduct Over River Almonte. For more details, visit:

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