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Queensferry Crossing - Innovation in Engineering

Lars T. Thorbek
Ramboll Group Copenhagen

The lecture will focus on innovation in bridge design with the Queensferry Crossing as the starting point; looking back in time to see where we come from and looking ahead to see where we’re going. Are we truly being innovative or are we just making minor adjustments to the fundamentals of bridge design. A look into the future of bridges will be attempted during the lecture hopefully answering the question; why is this innovative and a sustainable solution for the future.

The Queensferry Crossing
The Queensferry Crossing is a major cable-stayed road bridge crossing the Firth of Forth estuary close to Edinburgh, Scotland. The bridge was inaugurated by HM The Queen on September 4th, 2017. The total crossing length is 2.64km, of which 2.10km is a cable-stayed system with two main spans of 650m. The central tower is stabilized by cable fans extended to overlap at the centers of the main spans, a solution which is unique for a bridge of this scale.

Ramboll has led the Design Joint Venture which includes Sweco and Leonhardt, Andrä und Partner. Ramboll provided an integrated design, comprising structural design, mechanical and electrical systems, monitoring and security systems, access facilities, etc. including being the overall lead for the Design Joint Venture.

A world record
Innovation is not about breaking records but breaking barriers. However, it has become the industry standard when doing large bridges that we should highlight the records broken and Queensferry Crossings is no exception. In September 2016 the pair of balanced cantilevers on each side of the central tower reached a combined length of 644m, a world record recognized by The Guinness Book of Records.

Lars T. Thorbek has more than 20 years’ experience as an engineer and manager. He has a back-ground in structural dynamics and wind engineering but has in the last 15 years taken up various management positions. Today he is the Global Division Director for Ramboll’s Major Crossings Division. On the Queensferry Crossing Lars T. Thorbek was the design manager for the Design Joint Venture during the tender design period.

Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company founded in Denmark in 1945. The company employs more than 14,000 experts globally and has especially strong representation in the Nordics, UK, North America, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific. With 300 offices in 35 countries, Ramboll combines local experience with a global knowledgebase constantly striving to achieve inspiring and exacting solutions that make a genuine difference to our clients, the end-users, and society at large. Ramboll works across the following markets: Buildings, Transport, Planning & Urban Design, Water, Environment & Health, Energy and Management Consulting and the Group has a revenue of € 1.4Bn.

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