A pair of world-first geopolymer bridges in North Geelong have won a hat-trick of awards at the Institute of Public Works Engineers Australasia (IPWEA) Victorian Division Awards for innovation, excellence, and sustainability.
The bridges at Cowies Creek in Seagull Paddock won gold in the categories of Environmental Sustainabiility, Public Works and Innovation Regional, along with an IPWEA commendation for Excellence in Asset Management.
City of Greater Geelong Council says the concept for the bridges came out of a ‘procurement for innovation’ process where companies were invited to research and develop a product to address the waste, maintenance and cost issues associated with traditional concrete and steel bridges.
“The awards are well-earned recognition for the team who worked on the project, the suppliers who engaged with the City, and the innovative procurement process we used to make it happen,” said Mayor, Stephanie Asher.
“The sustainable bridges are made from a world-first geopolymer designed to be maintenance-free for at least 100 years. The geopolymer is extremely long-lasting and uses up to 80% less greenhouse gases in production than concrete. The bridges are made using recycled materials so it’s a great example of a circular economy solution in practice.”
The geopolymer for the bridges was created by a group of local companies and organisations: Austeng, Rocla, Inconmat and Deakin University.
“This is public recognition that the council is trying to be innovative in environmentally sustainable opportunities,” said Windermere Ward Councillor, Anthony Aitken.
“Delivering innovative investments in our community and in our north in particular is becoming a hallmark of this council.”
Council has developed an eLearning training course on the procurement for innovation process. It says the eLearning modules have already been requested by, and shared with, purchasers across Australia and the UNESCO City of Design network, including Curitiba (Brazil), Montreal (Canada) and Kortrijk (Belgium).