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  • Writer's pictureRaj Singh

Magic Beams: A Revolutionary Temporary Bridge System

Introducing "Magic Beams," a game-changing modular system that is setting a new standard for temporary industrial bridges. Conceived by John Hillman (HCB® Design) and developed in conjunction with CMS Infrastructure, this innovative approach fills a critical gap in North America's energy, pipeline, utilities, forestry, heavy construction, mining, and disaster relief sectors.


Load test of the 64.5ft long 7 panel bridge
Load test of the 64.5ft temporary bridge prototype

The genius of Magic Beams lies in its lightweight modular design. The system provides unparalleled ease of transport, installation, and demobilization, while also offering adaptability to a range of span lengths without the need for deeper girders.





Modular Flexibility

The Magic Beams system accommodates a 4.2-meter-wide single traffic lane and a 1.9-meter extendable pedestrian walkway. The bridge utilizes a 4-steel I-girder structure, supporting a Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composite deck.


Rendering of a 73.5ft - 7 panel illustrating a traffic lane, sidewalk, and an FRP deck on four steel girders.
Rendering of a 73.5ft - 7 panel illustrating a traffic lane, sidewalk, and an FRP deck on four steel girders.

The bridge length can range from 46.5ft (~14m) to 118.5ft (~36m), with increments of 9ft in span length. All configurations feature a constant superstructure depth of 4.5ft (1.37m). Each 9ft increment corresponds to the width of an FRP panel. The shortest configuration, 46.5ft, incorporates five FRP panels, while the longest, 118.5ft, incorporates 13 FRP panels. If necessary, the system allows for the replacement of the FRP deck with a timber deck.


Thanks to the intelligent configuration of the girder segments and splices, they allow for multiple arrangements with span length increments of 9 ft. For spans that are 82.5 ft (~25 m) and longer, the system is enhanced with a kingpost system. This system uses an API tube with two steel circular hollow pipe members attached to each girder, each supported by vertical saddle members at various points along its length.


Elevation view of the 118.5ft 13-panel configuration, which includes an API tube kingpost and PT strands within it.
Elevation view of the 118.5ft 13-panel configuration, which includes an API tube kingpost and PT strands within it

As the spans increase in length, hollow circular pipes offer a method for post-tensioning (PT) of the system. This involves incorporating high-strength steel strands within the API tube to enhance its capacity. For example, the 13-panel configuration includes twelve 0.5” (13mm) diameter strands in each pipe, stressed to 10% GUTS.


Robust and Versatile

Designed for multiple truck configurations
Designed for multiple truck configurations

Magic Beams is designed to carry a single lane of Canadian Design Trucks in various jurisdictions (CL-625, CL-800, BCL-625, CL-625-ONT), the American Design Truck (HL-93), and a CAT PL87 (100 Ton) construction vehicle. It can also carry a loaded CAT PL87 (100 ton) posted to a speed limit, demonstrating its versatility across North America and for construction access.



Simplified Transportation

All components of the Magic Beams system are designed to fit inside containers, enabling transport by ship, truck, or train. To reduce on-site assembly time, it's possible to pre-assemble certain combinations of parts off-site into container-sized subassemblies. One container can reflect an 18.288 m bridge.


Components fit in a standard shipping container for easy transport (73.5ft 8-Panel Configuration)
Components fit in a standard shipping container for easy transport (73.5ft 8-Panel Configuration)

In conclusion, Magic Beams is not just an innovative temporary bridge. It's a transformative tool set to revolutionize how industries move equipment, people, and materials in the field.


  • To learn more about this modular, lightweight, and versatile temporary bridge system, consider reaching out to CMSI.

  • To view the work performed by Spannovation in the development of this inventive bridge system click here.

  • Photo Credits: CMSI.

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