CTIS Research Activities

Research projects co-sponsored by the Center for Transportation Infrastructure and Safety advance the body of knowledge in the following areas:

  • Development, understanding, manufacturing, and use of new, more durable construction materials and NDT methods. 
  • Installation processes and engineering design. 
  • Monitoring and evaluating new and repaired structures. 
  • Standardization and code approval of products and design protocols. 
  • Development and deployment of infrastructure for a hydrogen economy. 
  • Modeling of high-pressure composite cylinders. 
  • NDE modalities for hydrogen transportation systems. 
  • Statistically validated codes and standards for critical hydrogen transportation infrastructure systems. 
  • Safety of hydrogen-powered vehicles and the infrastructure supporting them.

















Nondestructive Evaluation of MoDOT Bridge Decks – Pilot Study

 Status New
Sequential Number R311
Identification Number 00040085
Matching Research Agency Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)
Principal Investigator Lesley H. Sneed
Assistant Professor, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
Missouri University of Science and Technology
327 McNutt Hall
Rolla, MO 65401
(573) 341-4553
Student Involvement

2 graduate students (from Department of Geological Engineering), 1 undergraduate student (from Department of Civil Engineering)


Project Objective

The objective of this study identified by the Matching Research Agency (MoDOT) is to demonstrate the utility of the GPR tool in evaluating the condition of MoDOT bridge decks and confirm that it can be implemented as part of a long-term program that enables faster, better, and more cost-effective bridge deck assessments.  Additional research objectives that will be investigated by the researchers as part of this study are to explore, compare, and contrast existing and emerging noninvasive imaging technologies in terms of accuracy and information provided in evaluating the existing condition of bridge decks. At least two additional technologies (namely a GPR of different type and a portable seismic property analyzer) will be included as part of the deck investigations for this research. A comprehensive comparison will be accomplished including evaluation of data acquired from the entire suite of bridge decks investigated in this study.


Project Abstract

Data required to assess the structural condition of bridge decks can be collected using various methods such as visual examination, surface sounding, removal and evaluation of samples, and noninvasive imaging. Nondestructive testing (NDT) techniques, in particular, enable rapid and comprehensive data collection. The optimal utilization of appropriate NDT technologies can result in more accurate bridge deck assessments and significantly reduced costs. The overarching goal of this pilot study is demonstrate proof of concept that advanced nondestructive testing/evaluation (NDT/NDE) techniques can be rapidly, effectively, and economically implemented as part of MoDOT bridge deck surveys to improve the overall quality and cost of bridge deck evaluation. The accuracy and appropriateness of selected existing and emerging technologies will be evaluated using field data acquired from the entire suite of bridge decks investigated in this study. Technologies investigated will include two types of ground penetrating radar (GPR) and a portable seismic property analyzer (PSPA). Results of this pilot study will be used to evaluate the feasibility of a large scale, long-term program (multi-year, routine basis) that incorporates NDE techniques into MoDOT bridge deck surveys for the purpose of reducing cost on assessment and maintenance of bridge decks. The results will enable better, more cost-effective decisions of when to repair, strengthen, or replace the deteriorated bridge deck. The proposed research will also serve to educate and train multi-disciplinary students and future engineers in these technologies.


Relationship to other Research/Projects



Transportation-Related Keywords

Bridge decks, NDT/NDE

Technology Transfer Activities

Results of this study will be disseminated through a presentation and poster at the CIES/NUTC conference at Missouri S&T and at least one technical peer-reviewed journal article.


Project Deliverables

The deliverables produced from this project for the Matching Research Agency will be a report for each bridge deck investigated that compiles the field investigation results, and a final report to the Matching Research Agency and NUTC that summarizes the findings of all decks included in this project. The final report will also include an evaluation of the utility of the GPR tool in terms of effectiveness and man-hours required in evaluating similar bridge decks using this technique. This report will provide the basis and data to establish the value of this methodology for possible use in evaluating future bridges. The final report will also summarize the findings from comparisons of the additional NDT/NDE techniques investigated by the researchers.

Anticipated Benefits

Research in this field is currently limited to the repair of columns with slight to moderate damage levels; thus this research will fill in a critical gap in the literature with respect to the severe damage level. Additionally since the current literature contains little information with respect to repair of columns subjected to torsion, the inclusion of torsion in the combined loading is a significant contribution to the state of knowledge, and represents a more comprehensive and realistic loading condition than without. Results will serve as the basis for and add credibility to future proposals on repair of bridge columns, with high potential for collaboration with leading researchers in this field.


Project Start Date: 08/01/2012
Project End Date:


Research Activities: 2012


Research Activities: 2012

Repair of Earthquake-damaged Bridge Columns with Fractured Bars (R310)

Research Activities: 2012