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Timber-Stress Ribbon Bridges

Stress ribbon bridges with timber supporting structure

Ideal cross section utilisation for span widths of up to 70 m

Stress ribbon bridges are characterised by a roadway that features a slight dip. Due to this dip, the cross section is subjected to tensile stress and optimum use is made of the supporting cross section. The high tensile forces on the abutments have to be carried by the foundations. This generally occurs on the basis of deep foundations with post anchoring.

With its high tensile strength in the fibre direction, timber is an ideal material for constructions of this kind.

Attributes of stress ribbon bridges:

  • optimum cross section utilisation with high span widths of over 50m
  • Elegant line placement and harmonious design in the natural realm
  • High horizontal force on the abutments
  • Straightforward prefabrication in the form of similar elements
  • the casing on the top and side of the girders ensures the optimum protection against weathering

Protected main supporting structure

Structural timber protection is the key to the longevity of a timber bridge. Structural timber protection intends for all structural timber components to be completely protected. In this respect, the following steps are taken into consideration: Installation of technically dried timber with a timber humidity of 12% in order to prevent insect infestation, protection against weathering, ingress of moisture, UV rays due to the installation of projections and skirting in the design as well as good air circulation to encourage drying out. Constructions designed in this way satisfy the requirements of protected timber bridges pursuant to DIN EN 1995-2 NA. This means that loss events are prevented and maintenance costs are minimised, and the use of timber preserving chemicals can be reduced and/or avoided. Structures protected according to DIN EN 1995-2 have a service life of 60 – 80 years*.

* Quelle: Ablösungsbeträge-Berechnungsverordnung – ABBV, BMVBS, Stand 2010 bzw. Studie der DGfH 2006

Advantages of the stress ribbon bridge:

  • Highly efficient supporting structure with high girder heights
  • Cost-effective construction due to limited use of materials
  • Understated design
  • Dynamic line placement in the bridge aspect


Here is a selection of stress ribbon bridges with timber supporting structures.