Research Activities: 1998

Cracking in Prestressed I-Girder Bridges



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Sequential Number


Identification Number


Matching Research Agency

Department of Transportation (MoDOT)

Principal Investigator

Vellore Gopalaratnam, Professor
Civil Engineering
University of Missouri -- Columbia
E2501 EBE
Columbia, MO 65211
p(573) 882-2683

Student Involvement

One (1) M.S. student and One (1) Bachelors Student

Project Objective

The proposed project is the second phase of an expected extended effort.

Project Abstract

The proposed project is an investigation of cracking observed in numerous pretensioned I-girder concrete bridges in Missouri. It is a collaborative effort involving researchers from UMC and UMR as well as personnel from Missouri Department of Transportation. Prior to developing this proposal, the PI and the Co-PI met three times during the last six months, with MoDOT engineers from the Research, Development and Technology, Bridge and Maintenance divisions to (i) understand the size and scope of the problem, (ii) develop a database of over 100 cracked bridges including details of relevant design and construction parameters, and (iii) put together a plan of action to find potential solutions to the problem. This first phase of work was successfully completed in August 1998. The plan of action for Phase II calls for a two-pronged research approach taking into account the complementary strengths of the team.

Task Description

The study will focus on structural detailing of diaphragms at bridge supports and resultant "as-built" load and moment transfer capacity, and a study of shear design in light of the observed diagonal shear cracking.

Anticipated Benefits

The proposed project is the second step for the work needed to understand and correct the cracking problem that is occurring on several state bridges consisting of prestressed concrete I-girders. Causes will be determined and design revisions suggested as appropriate.

Modal Orientation



Project Start Date:09/01/1998
Project End Date:06/30/1999

Relationship to other Research/Projects


Technology Transfer Activities


Transportation Research Board Keywords

Early-age cracking, hydration, prestressed concrete and shear cracking