Theme and speakers

The theme of the conference is 'Bridges of the future'

Bridges are key links in the transport network and should provide safe, sustainable, effective and reliable access for the movement of people and goods over waterways, roads, railways and obstacles, benefiting the community and contributing to the growth and productivity of State and National economies.

Infrastructure development has to be sustainable in order to meet human and environmental needs now and into the future, and it needs to be recognised that future solutions are required not only for new bridges, but also for the maintenance of existing bridges. Sustainable infrastructure must fulfil current societal needs while reducing the impacts on future generations by integrating materials and methods that promote environmental quality, resource efficiency, economic vitality and public safety through its design, construction and operation.

Climate change will have an impact on the development of sustainable infrastructure and will remain a key driver in adopting more reusable materials and less energy-intensive methods of construction.

The impact of bridges on the environment will come under increased community scrutiny and attention to aesthetics, carbon footprint and the reflection of community values and national identity will increase in the future. Will the bridges we build now eventually become iconic heritage structures that future generations will be proud of?

While new bridges and infrastructure can be designed to accommodate future service conditions such as vehicle loading and extreme environmental effects such as floods, earthquakes and fire, more often than not existing older bridges create restrictions on the optimal use of the road network. A key question faced by state and local government is: how to sustain bridges to carry ever increasing loads? The ability to maximise the capacity of existing bridges requires innovation, advanced material knowledge and increasingly sophisticated assessment methods. Design and assessment codes need to incorporate the latest research to ensure that structures deliver required service in a safe and sustainable manner. While one part of creating and maintaining sustainable infrastructure is effective design, the other important factor is construction quality.

Predicting the future is not easy, but as engineers we have an obligation to ensure that we make use of the best expertise, research, technology, advanced materials and strategies for future maintenance and retrofitting in the process of building the bridges of the future.

The 2014 conference will provide a stimulating program that aims to:

  • Promote discussion on contemporary bridge engineering and management issues and initiatives.
  • Showcase innovation, progress and new directions in bridge engineering, management, research and training.
  • Facilitate collaboration and information sharing by bringing together bridge engineering and management practitioners.
  • Encourage young engineers to participate in the conference through attendance as well as presenting papers.

Organisation: Queen's University, Canada

Position: Professor and Canada Research Chair in Innovative and Retrofitted Structures, Undergraduate Chair in the Department of C

Dr Amir Fam, PhD, PEng, is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Innovative and Retrofitted Structures (2003-13) and Undergraduate Chair in the Department of Civil Engineering at Queen’s University, Canada. He is known internationally as a leader in the field of rapid construction of bridges using Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Stay-In-Place (SIP) structural forms for components such as bridge decks or as the concrete-filled FRP tube (CFFT) system for piles and columns. Dr Fam chairs sub-committee 440J (FRP stay in place forms) of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and is a voting member of ACI Committees 440 (FRP reinforcement) and 335 (Hybrid and Composite). He is a voting member of the Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Journal Advisory and Paper Awards Committees. He is also the treasurer and member of the executive committee and the council of the International Institute for FRP in Construction (IIFC). Dr Fam is an Associate Editor or in the Editorial Board of several journals including the Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering and ASCE Journal of Composites for Construction. He is the recipient of several awards including Ontario Early Researcher Award and the T. Y. Lin best paper award from ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering.

Organisation: Lehigh University, USA

Position: Fazlur R. Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture, Professor of Civil Engineering

Dr Dan M. Frangopol is the first holder of the Fazlur R. Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture at Lehigh University. Before joining Lehigh University in 2006, he was Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is now Professor Emeritus. From 1979-1983, he held the position of Project Structural Engineer with A. Lipski Consulting Engineers in Brussels, Belgium. In 1976, he received his doctorate in Applied Sciences from the University of Liège, Belgium. Dr Frangopol holds two honorary doctorates (Doctor Honoris Causa) from the Technical University of Civil Engineering in Bucharest, Romania, and the University of Liège, Belgium. He is also an Honorary Professor at six top-ranked universities in Asia.

Dr Frangopol is an experienced researcher and consultant to industry and government agencies, both nationally and abroad. His main research interests are in the application of probabilistic concepts and methods to civil and marine engineering including structural reliability, probability-based design and optimisation of buildings, bridges and naval ships, structural health monitoring, life-cycle performance maintenance and management of structures and infrastructures under uncertainty, risk-based assessment and decision making, infrastructure sustainability and resilience to disasters, and stochastic mechanics.

Amongst many other achievements, Dr Frangopol is the Founding President of the International Association for Bridge Maintenance and Safety (IABMAS) and of the International Association for Life Cycle Civil Engineering (IALCCE). He has held numerous leadership positions in national and international professional societies and his achievements have been acknowledged through several national and international awards.

Organisation: Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Position: Professor of Structural Engineering, Director of the Smart Structures Laboratory

Dr Riadh Al-Mahaidi is a Professor of Structural Engineering and Director of the Smart Structures Laboratory at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. Over the past 15 years, Professor Al-Mahaidi has focused his research and practice on the lifetime integrity of bridges, particularly in the area of structural strength assessment and retrofitting using advanced composite materials. In addition, much of his research has had a significant impact on the way bridges are assessed and strengthened for improved load rating. He is currently leading a number of research projects on the strengthening and durability of concrete bridges using fibre reinforced polymers combined with cement-based bonding agents and fatigue life improvement of metallic bridges using advanced composite systems.