Innovative Precast
Bridges for Railways



Currently, the prefabrication industry does not take advantage of the potential offered by materials of the HPFRC (high performance concrete reinforced with steel fibres) and UHPFRC (ultra-high performance cementitious materials reinforced with steel fibres) types. The present project aims to design new products for railway bridge decks taking advantage of the potential offered by these materials. HPFRC will be used to design and develop prefabricated prestressed stringers, without ordinary reinforcement in the current zone, and crossbeams of the modular beam-column system.


The main general objective of the project is the development of new precast concrete products for railway bridges/viaducts, taking advantage of the potential offered by new materials of the HPFRC and UHPFRC types, to address the problems identified, and also the validation
of these new products, so that their technical feasibility is unquestionable.

Create a new system
to materialise the continuity between deck stringers of bridges/viaducts.

Designing a framed column solution.

Designing a new range of precast concrete products.

Designing a new connection system between precast column segments.


A1 – Activity 1 | Technical Project Management

Coordinate the different phases of the Project in order to achieve the Project’s objectives in an effective and efficient way.

A2 – Activity 2 | Technical Specifications and Requirements

They will be defined:

The regulatory requirements that the new products to be designed must comply with; those requirements that may be determinant for the definition and geometries and materials in the products to be developed will be identified;

The specifications related to production capacity in MEEC factories, to be taken into account in the development of new products (geometry and materials among others);

The application domains for the development of new products.

A3 – Activity 3 | Design of New Products and Systems for Prefabricated Railway Bridge Decks

This activity aims to integrate the advantages of HPFRC and UHPFRC type materials in the design of new products. It is intended to develop products that have advantages during the construction phase, in terms of durability, and in terms of aesthetic quality of the built work. There will be naturally a strong interaction with the tasks where HPFRC and UHPFRC material is developed and characterized. 

A4 – Activity 4 | Development of New Products and Systems for Precast Railway Bridge

This Activity 4 focuses on three main objectives which are associated with as many other tasks:

Design of a new precast beam of the modular column system (Task 4.1);

Design of a new connection system of the precast beam to the vertical shafts, with application of HPFRC and UHPFRC to accommodate the requirements of stress transfer, ductility and energy dissipation in case of strong horizontal cyclic loads (Task 4. 2);

Design of the continuity connection system between segments of vertical shafts, using UHPFRC, to provide adequate performance under strong horizontal cyclic loads (Task 4.3).

A5 – Activity 5 | Construction of Prototypes and Test Samples

In this task will be produced the samples for tests of characterization of materials and structural details, as well as the prototypes for tests and trials for study and validation of solutions. All the tests for these samples and prototypes are performed in FEUP’s laboratories, in Activity 6.

A6 – Activity 6 | Tests and Trials

Within the scope of this activity, the compositions of HPFRC and UHPFRC will be defined, the tests for characterization of the properties of these materials will be performed, as well as the tests for characterization of the behaviour of structural details. Furthermore, this activity also involves the performance of prototype tests intended, fundamentally, to validate the structural performance of the products and systems to be designed in Activities 3 and 4.

A7 – Activity 7 | Promotion and Dissemination

This activity includes all tasks aimed at disseminating the project and its results, as well as their promotion. In addition to the promotion and dissemination actions included in the tasks of this activity, master’s dissertations will be prepared and the development of doctoral theses will be sought.


The project team gathers all the necessary skills to achieve its objectives. The lead promoter (Mota-Engil, Engineering and Construction, MEEC) has extensive experience in the construction and rehabilitation of railway structures and in concrete prefabrication. The second co-promoter (Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, FEUP) brings together scientific and technical skills in all areas involved in the project, and laboratory infrastructures essential for the development of the work.

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