How Japan Introduced Scour Protection for Bridges 30 Years Ago

scour protection for bridges using rock bags

Bridges are an integral element of a country’s infrastructure. Literally, every country in the world has bridges to strengthen its road network and improve transportation. For example, Tasmania has 1,300 bridges, South Australia has 1500, and Brisbane alone has 20. But, are we paying enough attention to bridge stability? Have we taken the necessary steps to guarantee scour protection for bridges?

Read on and find out how Japan found a solution to this pressing issue.

What Causes Bridge Failure?

While many factors can make bridges susceptible to damage, scour remains a leading cause. Whether the bridge runs over a dry creek or river doesn’t matter. A flash flood can easily wash away the sediments around the pylons, threatening bridge stability. In fact, pylons are more prone to scour because water goes around them at a high force.

River bed erosion is another problem that can gradually damage the abutments or piers. So, scour protection for bridges is a necessity.

How Did Japan Tackle Erosion?

Conventionally, people placed large rocks, pebbles, or even concrete around pylons for bridge stability. Until one day…Japan came up with a more innovative solution, creating their famed Kyowa rock bags.

In fact, the rock bags were first installed in 1987, more than 30 years ago, around the pylons of the 4km-long Akashi Bridge. Yes, that’s right! One of the longest suspension bridges in the world relied on rock bags protection!

Today, these rock bags weighing 2, 6, and even 8 tonnes have aided over 17,000 projects.

What Are the Multiple Uses of Rock Bags?

After 30 years, rock bags finally arrived in Australia and New Zealand, growing in popularity very quickly.

In addition to providing scour protection for bridges, Councils and construction companies use rock bags as a part of road, beach, and river erosion control methods today.

They are even used to protect subsea marine pipelines and cables. They are a simple yet very effective solution that also costs less. What more do you need?

While not as sexy as the transistor radio, they are still an amazing product from Japan!

Bluemont is the supplier of rock bags in Australia and New Zealand, assisting both the public and private sectors in their projects.

Want rock bags for a project in your area? Get in touch with us on +61 2 9091 0360 or send us your requirements directly via our website.

If you want to read more on projects that used Rock bags,