Axion International Holdings, which uses recycled plastic and plastic composite technologies to produce ECOTRAX rail ties and STRUXURE building products, announced that the international engineering and construction firm Parsons Brinckerhoff has completed a Standard Design Guide of Thermoplastic Bridges for three short-span heavy-load bridge applications using Axion’s Recycled Structural Composite (RSC) products. The guide is intended to help engineers and developers understand the structural details and capabilities of Axion’s RSC as they enter into the design phase of short-span bridges using Axion’s STRUXURE construction systems as alternatives to legacy materials.

The guide is available on the Axion website for registered engineers and designers at to use when they’re initiating projects. Axion’s products have proven successful for bridge applications ranging from light pedestrian traffic to 120-plus-ton railroad locomotives.  Most recently Axion’s RSC was used in the construction of an automotive bridge crossing the York River outside of York, Maine, which opened for traffic in January 2012.

According to Axion Executive Vice President Dave Crane, “This guide is intended to provide the necessary engineering and design features so users can begin planning their projects. The technical document provides guidance based on AASHTO Standard Specifications with an HL93 Live Load that must be modified to meet local construction codes and site requirements.  Elements of the guides include pre-engineered abutment detail, engineering required for bridge decking, an overlay system for the road surface, and information on guardrail specifications. The bridge superstructure can be pre-fabricated and shipped for assembly on site to accelerate bridge construction. Axion has prefabrication capability at our facilities, and we’re currently establishing a nationwide network of distribution partners who service the bridge building industry.” 

Axion and Parsons Brinkerhoff created the Standard Design Guide for Thermoplastic Bridges to provide information on the strength and durability for three lengths of single-span heavy-load structures measuring from 10’-15’, 16’-20’, and 21’-25’ in length. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are almost 80,000 bridges of those lengths considered “functionally obsolete” and more than 70,000 that are “structurally deficient.”

“Parsons Brinckerhoff believes that with the standard design of highway bridges using recycled plastic, Axion can be successful in marketing short-span bridges to the community at large in the United States as well as overseas,” states Vijay Chandra, senior vice president at Parsons Brinckerhoff. “We look forward to working with Axion in developing many more state-of-the-art products to enhance the sustainable qualities and the use of green products to improve infrastructure in the United States and overseas.”

Axion’s STRUXURE building materials were created as a sustainable alternative to legacy building materials like wood, steel, and concrete. STRUXURE Construction Systems provide excellent structural performance, offer lower lifecycle costs (including competitive first-time installation costs and lower maintenance costs) and tangible superiority in terms of sustainability. STRUXURE is a more durable, longer lasting, environmentally sound and lighter heavy-load building material, and it is fully recyclable at the end of its lifecycle. Construction costs can be lowered and maintenance costs can be virtually eliminated.  Components can be prefabricated by Axion and shipped to installation sites for quick application.

Headquartered in New Providence, NJ, Axion International Holdings develops, manufactures, and sells rail ties and structural building products made from 100-percent recycled consumer and industrial plastics and plastic composites. It offers its ECOTRAX composite rail ties and STRUXURE composite structural building products such as I-beams, pilings, tongue-and-groove planking, and various sizes of boards for use in engineered design solutions such as rail and tank bridges, pedestrian and recreation bridges, marinas, boardwalks, and bulk heading throughout the world. Axion markets its composite products to the railroad industry, military, and industrial engineering and contracting firms. For additional information, please visit

Parsons Brinckerhoff develops and operates infrastructure around the world with 14,000 employees serving clients and communities in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia-Pacific regions. The firm offers skills and resources in strategic consulting, planning, engineering, program/construction management, and operations for transportation, power, mining, water/wastewater, and community development projects.  Parsons Brinckerhoff is part of Balfour Beatty, an international infrastructure services business operating in professional services, construction services, support services, and infrastructure investments (