Robots Help Extend Lifespan of Texas Bridge

DYWIDAG supplied 12.000m² of Cableskin wrapping for the Fred Hartman Bridge, a cable-stay bridge near Houston, Texas. Cableskin was applied using a robotic wrapping system to maintain and extend the bridge’s lifespan.

Context

The Fred Hartman Bridge is a cable-stay bridge spanning the Houston Ship Channel near Houston, Texas in the United States. DYWIDAG was tasked with applying corrosion protection to the bridge’s 192 cable stays to increase the bridge’s lifespan.

Scope

  • Apply multiple layers of independent corrosion protection to stay cables - using Cableskin butyl rubber tape

  • Develop the next generation of robot within a three-month period to deliver to the site in time for the project’s completion

Solution

The 2.6 mile (4.2 km) long bridge links the cities of Baytown and La Porte, which is east of Houston, via State Highway 146. To maintain and extend the bridge’s lifespan, it was decided to apply DYWIDAG Cableskin wrapping to prevent and stop further damage and degradation. Cableskin (butyl rubber tape) was wrapped around the bridge cables by self-driving robots and was the ideal solution because it adapts to rough surfaces and ​avoids air inclusions.​

Multiple layers of independent corrosion protection were applied; no housing, scaffolding, or gantries required. Traffic obstruction on the bridge was minimal. Additionally, no surface preparation of the cables was required (e.g. removal of dirt, paint, etc.).

A total of 12.000m² of Cableskin wrapped 192 strand bundle cables, with the use of up to three robots. The boots were also over-wrapped by hand.

One of the greatest challenges of this project was developing a new robot generation in a brief three-month time frame and then delivering the product to the USA for use within nine months.

Learn more about Cableskin technology: https://dywidag.com/cableskin

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