Photo courtesy of the Happy Pontist.
Golfers consider an 18-hole game standard fare these days. But 30 years ago, nine-hole courses like the one at Aberfeldy Golf Club in the Scottish Highlands were common. When the club did decide it was time to add nine more holes across the River Tay, the need for a durable, cost-efficient bridge turned the area into a staging ground for an experiment in advanced materials.
One of the world’s first Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) bridges, Aberfeldy Footbridge, will turn 25 this October, a noteworthy anniversary I first mentioned back in January. Since opening in 1992, the bridge has endured countless spiked golf shoes as well as weather extremes ranging from severe flooding to 140 kph winds. The structure’s longevity also gives us the gift of hindsight, something Dr. Tim Stratford, School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh, capitalized on in 2012.