Every Innovation Starts With A Conversation

The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure is helping ensure the next generation of infrastructure projects rises to modern challenges.

By Angie Schmitt

Lightweight, durable and energy efficient, composite materials have the potential to revolutionize bridge building for the better.

Materials like fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) provide a durable and energy efficient alternative to traditional construction materials like steel and concrete on everything from bridge structures to utility poles.

In this video, produced by Infrastructure Ventures, we travel to job sites in Duvall, Washington, and Hampden, Maine, where contractors are replacing obsolete bridges with lightweight composite arch and girder superstructures (respectively) from AIT Composites. Designed to last over 100 years, project leaders say the use of composite materials provides longer lifecycle and long-term cost savings. They also have significant environmental benefits, reducing the need for carbon-intensive concrete.

We believe it’s time for the industry to be aggressive about evolving in a sustainable way, and composite materials in bridge construction present an exciting opportunity.

The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure is helping the transportation construction industry do better. ISI serves as a third-party certification provider to verify that infrastructure projects are held to high environmental standards. ISI President and CEO Anthony Kane compares it to LEED standards for buildings.

Sustainability should be the default, he says in this conversation with Infrastructure Ventures Chairman and InfraTalk America publisher Gregory Nadeau.

Kane says the next generation of infrastructure must be different, and better, than the last.

“The sustainability-in-the-built-environment movement really did start with buildings,” says Kane. “Our built environment is buildings, but part of that is infrastructure that we often overlook.”

As the nation prepares for an historic investment in infrastructure as a result of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, he asks us to consider “is that investment going to be toward the future, toward tackling the challenges we know we need to face?”