The bridge is one of the oldest human works as an answer to the human need to cross an obstacle. Initially, the bridge was made with only one tree trunk placed on both sides of the river. As time progressed, bridges were permanent and made of stone, then switched to brick, iron, steel, and reinforced concrete or prestressed concrete.

From Roman times to the present, the forms used in the construction of stone bridges are based on arcs, retaining walls, and pillars as well as subterranean stone foundations. This system is only effective for compression forces and is suitable for both masonry and brick structures.

“The iron produced by industry in the early 18th century was a newly developed manufacturing product. It quickly became material for railroad traffic bridge structures. The world’s first iron bridge was built in England in 1779 and still stands today. This success triggered the construction of other bridges. However, further development of the cast iron bridge is hampered by the low tensile strength and brittleness of the material,” said Prof. Dr. Ir. Heru Purnomo, DEA., in his inauguration ceremony as Professor of the Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia (FTUI), on Saturday (15/10).

According to him, the number of construction of iron bridges in the 19th century was mostly due to the presence of new iron material, namely wrought iron. This new type of material has higher tensile strength and ductility than cast iron. In 1865, a combination of the two was used to build the Ashtabula truss bridge in the state of Ohio, United States. However, eleven years later the bridge collapsed due to the appearance of fatigue cracks which then spread to cracks due to repeated loads.

“The development of steel bridges in Indonesia begins with the construction of steel bridges for rail traffic. In 1862, the Nederlands Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij for the first time built a railroad in Indonesia from Semarang Gudang to Tanggung. The railroad from Ulee Lheu to Banda Aceh, which was built in 1876, is the first railway line built outside Java. Old railway bridges use rivets, while bridges that were built after independence use bolts and welds,” said Prof. Heru.

Based on Law 38 of 2004 it is stated that roads including bridges are part of the national transportation system. Currently, technology development has experienced rapid development from year to year. This can be seen from design standards or regulations, material technology, and construction technology to rehabilitation technology and bridge reinforcement.

“Several cases of damage to steel bridge structures in Indonesia occurred at the fabrication stage. Meanwhile, the connection system failure has also occurred in one of the truss bridges in Central Kalimantan. An example of the collapse of a steel bridge due to environmental loads occurred on the Ponulele arch bridge, Palu which has a total span of 300 meters due to the earthquake and tsunami loads in 2018,” said Prof. Heru.

He further conveyed that in the development of steel bridges in Indonesia shortly is that the span of steel truss bridges will exceed 100 meters in span. The Gladak Perak-Lumajang arc bridge which collapsed due to the eruption of Mount Semeru on December 4, 2021, will be replaced by the Steel Truss Bridge with a span of 140 meters, which will be the longest steel truss bridge in Indonesia. In line with this, in general, the development of special span bridges in Indonesia shortly will have longer main spans.

“Avoiding bridge failures and damage, as described previously, can only be done by carrying out regular inspections and major inspections every five years on an ongoing basis within the scope of maintenance. In addition, monitoring of bridge health in real-time can be carried out during the construction period as well as the operational period of long-span bridges,” said Prof. Heru.

At the end of his speech Prof. Heru said that with advances in information technology, the data from bridge maintenance inspections could be supported by a cloud platform. In addition, the Internet of Things (IoT) can be applied to the construction process where data can be transferred over a network without requiring human-to-human interaction.

After his presentation, Prof. Heru was officially inaugurated as a Permanent Professor of the Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia (FTUI). The procession for the inauguration of professors was led by the Rector of UI, Prof. Ari Kuncoro, SE, MA, Ph.D., live at the Makara Art Center (MAC) Building and broadcast virtually through the UI Teve Youtube channel.

At the inauguration of his professorship, guests were also attended, including the President Director of PT JOSO, Thoat Fauzi, IAI; Director of PT Pratama Daya Cahya Manunggal – Steel Bridge Design and Construction Consultant, Ir. Budi Santoso, M.T.; Professor of Civil Engineering ITB and Chairman of the Association of Indonesian Construction Experts, Prof. Ir. Iswandi Imran MASc, Ph.D.; Deputy Director of the Jakarta State Polytechnic Academic Bid, Mrs. Nunung Martina, S.T., M.Sc.; Head of the Ministry of PUPR Bridge Hall, Pandji Krisna Wardana S.T., M.T.; President Director of PT Arkonin, Achmad Noerzaman; CEO of The Wisemen & Company, Jennifer Heryanto; and Associate Professor of Bioengineering, New York University, Dr.-Ing Azhar Zam, S.Si., M.Sc; and a representative from PT Wiratman, Tantri Heryantina.

Prof. Heru is a lecturer at the Department of Civil Engineering, FTUI, and has served as a member of the UI Academic Senate from 2006-2011. He completed his undergraduate education at the Universitas Indonesia in 1985. Then, he continued his education and received his Diplome d’etudes approfondies (DEA) at Universite Blaise Pascal Clermont II, Clermont Frerrand, France. Still, in the same country, Prof. Heru managed to get a Doctorate in Civil Engineering, at Universite d’Orleans, Orleans, France.

A series of awards that have been obtained by Prof. Heru, including Satyalancana Karya Satya XXX Year, Decree of the President of the Republic of Indonesia No. 90/TK/Year 2018; Awarding the title of Mas, Decree of the Sultan of Kutai Kerta Negara Ing Martadipura XX, No. 007/SK-SKK/GELAR/VIII/2016; and Satyalancana Karya Satya XX Years, Decree of the President of the Republic of Indonesia No. 27/TK/Year 2011.

In addition, several recent scientific works that have been published in international journals indexed by Scopus, include Bond–Slip Relationship between Sand-Coated Polypropylene Coarse Aggregate Concrete and Plain Rebar (2022), Stress and Strain Behavior of Confined Lightweight Concrete using Sand Coated Polypropylene Coarse Aggregate. (2021), Numerical Modeling, Simulation, and Experimentation of Steel Shear Keys Dry Joints (2020), and The Influence of River and Volcanic Sand as Coatings on Polypropylene Waste Coarse Aggregate Towards Concrete Compressive Strength (2020).


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Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia