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Cutting Edge - Titan takes strain off hardwood

MATERIALS

DUTCH motorists could soon be racing across wooden road bridges thanks to an innovative timber treatment pioneered by UK company Titan Wood.

Based in London and the Netherlands, the company has developed a process that can boost the physical properties of nondurable sustainable wood, making it as durable as hardwood.

The acetylation process helps stabilise sustainably forested softwood, making it more resistant to wind and weather conditions and easier to maintain.

And now Dutch engineers are to build two heavy traffic bridges in Friesland, Holland, from material treated by Titan Wood.

The two 40 m-long, 20 m-high bridges are due to be completed late next year from radiata pine by local contractor Groot Lemmer.

According to a spokesman from the Friesland local authority the wooden bridges were chosen from entries to a design competition.

He said: 'These bridges are a clear design landmark. A decision has been made although the council will still have to go through planning procedures. It is likely that construction will commence in the summer of 2006.' According to Titan Wood, the bridges will be a world first for acetylated timber and using the treatment method could help halt increasing deforestation for commercial hardwoods.

The timber will be processed at the company's factory at Arnhem, The Netherlands.