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   To what extent has the construction of bridges in the Middle East changed in the last 10 years?

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Bridges Middle East Q & A With Jama Al Zarif


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Bridges Middle East 2010 Q & A with Jamal Al Zarif.

Following the phenomenal success of IQPC’s global Bridges series, including two regional summits, we are delighted to announce the third Bridges Middle East summit will take place under the patronage of Abu Dhabi Municipality and the official support of Ministry of Public Works, Kuwait on 24-27 October 2010 in Abu Dhabi.

While it has been a challenging year for the construction industry, bridges in the Middle East region are still being built in far greater numbers than ever before. As the Middle East develops, the number of technical and design challenges for bridge construction also increases. Bridges Middle East 2010 will offer a platform for all stakeholders in the value chain, from bridge design and planning to construction and maintenance, to discuss and exchange best practices and ensure the quality, safety, sustainability and durability of the next generation of bridges.

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Bridges Middle East Q & A With Jama Al Zarif

  1. 1. Questions: To what extent has the construction of bridges in the Middle East changed in the last 10 years? • The latest bridge design and construction technologies have been adopted in the UAE/Middle East. There have also been some innovations. For example, the iconic Sheikh Zayed Bridge is unique in its structural form and complexity. • Demand for bridges has increased in order to provide new transport links, including: o mainland to existing natural islands (e.g. Sadiyat and Reem Island Bridges in Abu Dhabi, UAE); o mainland to new man-made islands (e.g. the Palms in Dubai, UAE); o urban light rail systems (e.g. Dubai, UAE); o footbridges over main arteries (e.g. the 162m pedestrian footbridge spanning the Khaleej Al Arabi Coast Road at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi). What are the main challenges in developing strategic infrastructures such as bridges within the Middle East? • Determining the infrastructure network which will best support future development • Getting value from the local and international construction market • Design and construction which combats a very aggressive physical environment • Achieving good communication within international construction teams • Maximising sustainability in construction • Maintaining existing and future bridges What could be done to overcome those challenges? • Good strategic planning • Best practice procurement methods • Increased use of prefabrication to speed and improve the quality of construction • Improved education and training of workforce • Appropriate use of sustainable construction materials • Establishing an effective inspection and maintenance regime What do you think of the regulations currently in place for design and construction of bridges? What could be improved to enhance the industry's performance and reliability? • Existing international codes and standards provide a good core resource on which to base regulation. However, the way in which these codes and standards are implemented to suit local requirements must be kept under review. This applies especially to aspects such as wind loads, seismic effects, and durability. To what extent is the monitoring and maintenance of bridges a growing concern for the region? What could encourage the use of innovative inspection and maintenance techniques? • As investment in infrastructure grows, so it is clearly in our interest to take good care of our bridge stock. Inspection and maintenance programmes linked to an asset management system enable us to assure the safety of the travelling public and to plan/prioritise the expenditure of resources. We welcome innovative inspection and maintenance techniques, provided they are based on sound science. If these techniques have been developed overseas, then endorsements from public bodies, and records of research and of take-up in other countries would encourage their use in the UAE. Can you name completed or ongoing bridges projects in the Middle East that are great examples of sustainable bridge design and cost-effective performance? • The Sheikh Zayed Bridge uses concrete in which ggbs (ground granulated blastfurnace slag) provides 70% of the cementitious content. This replacement of cement makes a significant contribution to reducing the impact of the structure on the environment.