My books share one particularity: they are entirely original – the first books ever written on that topic. Writing technical books takes a lot of work and passion, and dealing with unexplored topics is even harder. One has to start from scratch, investigate the subject, find how to solve its challenges, organize hundreds of pages and illustrations into a logical structure, convince a prestigious publisher that the topic deserves attention, and go through an accurate process of peer review.
Launched Bridges was the first book ever written on the incremental launching construction of prestressed concrete bridges. It took me 15 years to write it, during hundreds of weekends and most of my long flights, summarizing the experience gained from the design and construction of my first launched bridges in Europe. Published by ASCE Press (American Society of Civil Engineers) in 1998, the book was sold out in a few months. I have many nice memories about that book, and a congratulation letter by Prof. Leonhardt that I am proud to showcase in my bookshelf.
Bridge Launching was published by Thomas Telford four years later, in 2002. This book was a substantial step forward from Launched Bridges, as in addition to prestressed concrete bridges, it also deals with steel bridges and prestressed composite bridges with steel corrugated-plate webs. Bridge Launching found widespread interest worldwide, soon became the international reference in the field, and was cited in a great number of researches and publications.
I widened my professional and research activity to mechanized bridge construction, and published papers on self-launching gantries and other types of bridge construction machines. The Scientific Committee of the IABSE (International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering) thus invited me to set up and chair the working group WG-6 Bridge Construction Equipment for the 2009-2013 term.
With WG-6 I had the privilege of chairing the IABSE Seminar State-of-the-Art Bridge Deck Erection: Safe and Efficient Use of Special Equipment in Singapore in November 2010. That seminar was an incredible success – we expected 20-30 registrations and gathered more than 160 people for a 2-day full immersion in modern bridge technology. Numerous papers on bridge construction technology followed in two special editions of Structural Engineering International, the IABSE journal.
The United Nations noticed the social relevance of bridge construction technology and the need for guidance, safety and technical culture in the field. So, in 2011 the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) invited me to write an eBook titled Bridge Erection Machines for the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. The book found widespread interest worldwide, and this further encouraged me to deepen this research field.
So, after 32 years of professional activity and research in the field, I wrote from scratch Bridge Construction Equipment for ICE Publishing (the Institution of Civil Engineers, London, UK). The book explores configurations, operations, kinematics, performance, productivity, structure-equipment interaction and industry trends for every family of special equipment for mechanized bridge construction. Published in July 2013 and distributed worldwide, the book found such a widespread interest within the bridge engineering community that in only five months it became the ICE Publishing’s best-selling US title in 2013, and was still in the first five titles in 2014.
Much has been done in the field of bridge launching since 2002, and Bridge Launching required updating in many aspects. So, in 2014 I rewrote the book for ICE Publishing (the Institution of Civil Engineers, London, UK). The book increased in size by one-third. In addition to my work experience on 34 launched bridges, I consulted more than 300 publications for this brand-new book. Bridge Launching, 2nd Edition provides state-of-the-art coverage of the design and construction of launched bridges made of steel, prestressed concrete, and prestressed composite construction with steel corrugated-plate webs. In addition to incremental launching, the book now covers deck rotation, jacking, skidding, and the launch of single spans, bowstring arches and cable-supported decks.