The "bridge in a backpack," a composites bridge developed by the University of Maine, received a key approval from a national transportation nonprofit that could advance efforts to expand its commercialization. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee, in a press release Friday said that the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials approved the technology, "[signifying] the potential growth of this revolutionary technology."
According to the Bangor Daily News, an association subcommittee on Thursday voted unanimously to include in its book of codes the design standards for the bridge technology. The approval means the bridge, if used in federal or state construction projects, is eligible for federal Department of Transportation grants.
UMaine's AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center developed the bridge in a backpack, a kit that uses flexible composite tubes that are filled on-site with concrete. UMaine has licensed the technology to an Orono startup called Advanced Infrastructure Technology. The company has built 10 of the bridges in four states, with 15 other projects in the design phase, according to the paper.