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21st December 2017, Dayton, OH

Composite Advantage supplies FRP panels for US rail station

Composite Advantage, a leader in supplying innovative FRP products for the infrastructure market, has supplied FRP rail platform panels for the rehabilitation of two mini-high accessibility platforms at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) West Natick station.

The structures make boarding easy for individuals with disabilities. MBTA needed a high-performance, corrosion-resistant replacement for the structures and selected the company’s fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) FiberSPAN-R deck panels. “Projects like these, especially those with new applications for FRP, are a great chance for us to learn more about a customer’s operations. These mini-high platforms are no exception,” the company commented.

FRP panels

Composite Advantage fabricated the new FRP panels to match the precast concrete panels that formed the ramps and platform. The panels are supported on concrete piers that were rebuilt to remove the corroding caps. The panels had attachment points for handrails that fit the same locations as the previous railings. Panels bordering the tracks were engineered to accommodate a retractable edge that's used to handle trains with different widths.

Composite Advantage fabricated the new FRP panels to match the precast concrete panels that formed the ramps and platform. © Composite Advantage

The north and south platforms are mirror images, and each platform contains six FRP panels. To span the support distances between concrete piers, some of the panels were moulded with stiffeners integral with the deck to provide a lightweight, precast Double Tee panel.

Lightweight and long-lasting

“The mini-high platforms offer an insightful example of how MBTA is working to meet the requirements of ADA, while harnessing the many benefits of lightweight, long-lasting, easily-installed FRP materials,” the manufacturer concluded.

Composite Advantage is a leader in supplying innovative FRP products for the infrastructure market. Its expertise is the design, manufacturing and delivery of large products for structurally demanding applications. Products include the FiberSPAN deck system for bridges and rail platforms; maintenance-free berthing systems for ships; and energy absorbing protection systems for critical infrastructure.

Mini-high platforms

Mini-high platforms provide a level train boarding surface for individuals with mobility restrictions. They are located at the end of at-grade platforms and provide accessible boarding at the front or back cars of a train. The platforms consist of ramps and elevated loading sections, while meeting the slope requirements for accessibility. The loading platform section matches the rail car door height.

The impetus behind features, such as mini-high platforms, stems from public demand and, subsequently, Federal laws mandating easier access. In 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibiting discrimination of persons with disabilities in employment, public services, public accommodations and telecommunications.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), first established to "give life to...the Civil Rights Act of 1964," was charged with enforcing the ADA. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ADA has proved to be an "equal opportunity" law for people with disabilities.

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