Investigation of Two Bridge Alternatives for Low Volume Roads, Volume 1 of 2 Concept 1: Precast Steel Beam Units, HR-382, 1997

(1997) Investigation of Two Bridge Alternatives for Low Volume Roads, Volume 1 of 2 Concept 1: Precast Steel Beam Units, HR-382, 1997. Transportation, Department of


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Recent reports have indicated that 23.5% of the nation's highway bridges are structurally deficient and 17.7% are functionally obsolete. A significant number of these bridges are on the Iowa secondary road system where over 86% of the rural bridge management responsibilities are assigned to the counties. Some of the bridges can be strengthened or otherwise rehabilitated, but many more are in need of immediate replacement. In a recent investigation (HR-365 "Evaluation of Bridge Replacement Alternatives for the County Bridge System") several types of replacement bridges that are currently being used on low volume roads were identified. It was also determined that a large number of counties (69%) have the ability and are interested in utilizing their own forces to design and construct short span bridges. In reviewing the results from HR-365, the research team developed one "new" bridge replacement concept and a modification of a replacement system currently being used. Both of these bridge replacement alternatives were investigated in this study, the results of which are presented in two volumes. This volume (Volume 1) presents the results of Concept 1 - Steel Beam Precast Units. Concept 2 - Modification of the Beam-in-Slab Bridge is presented in Volume 2. Concept 1, involves the fabrication of precast units (two steel beams connected by a concrete slab) by county work forces. Deck thickness is limited so that the units can be fabricated at one site and then transported to the bridge site where they are connected and the remaining portion of the deck placed. Since Concept 1 bridge is primarily intended for use on low-volume roads, the precast units can be constructed with new or used beams. In the experimental part of the investigation, there were three types of static load tests: small scale connector tests, "handling strength" tests, and service and overload tests of a model bridge. Three finite element models for analyzing the bridge in various states of construction were also developed. Small scale connector tests were completed to determine the best method of connecting the precast double-T (PCDT) units. "Handling strength" tests on an individual PCDT unit were performed to determine the strength and behavior of the precast unit in this configuration. The majority of the testing was completed on the model bridge [L=9,750 mm (32 ft), W=6,400 mm (21 ft)] which was fabricated using the precast units developed. Some of the variables investigated in the model bridge tests were number of connectors required to connect adjacent precast units, contribution of diaphragms to load distribution, influence of position of diaphragms on bridge strength and load distribution, and effect of cast-in-place portion of deck on load distribution. In addition to the service load tests, the bridge was also subjected to overload conditions. Using the finite element models developed, one can predict the behavior and strength of bridges similar to the laboratory model as well as design them. Concept 1 has successfully passed all laboratory testing; the next step is to field test it.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Bridge management systems, Diaphragms (Engineering), Equipment replacement, Fasteners, Finite element method, Highway bridges, Load tests, Load transfer, Low volume roads, Mathematical models, Oversize loads, Precast concrete, Rural areas; Scale models, Secondary roads, Bridge management, Model tests, Overloads, Steel beams
Subjects: Transportation
Transportation > Bridges and tunnels
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation > Research
Transportation > Design and Construction
ID Code: 16091
Deposited By: Iowa DOT Library
Deposited On: 17 Feb 2014 15:40
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2014 11:44