Research Activities: 1998

Destructive and Non-Destructive Testing of Bridge J857, Phelps County, Mo.

  • Volume I - Strengthening and Testing to Failure of Bridge Decks
  • Volume II - Feasibility Study on Damage Detection of RC Structures Using Dynamic Signature Tests
  • Volume III - Strengthening and Testing to Failure of Bridge Piers



View Reports:


Vol. IVol. IIVol. III

Sequential Number


Identification Number


Matching Research Agency

Missouri Department of Trasnportation MoDOT

Principal Investigator

Michael Barker, Associate Professor
Civil Engineering
University of Missouri - Columbia
E2509 EBE
Columbia, MO 65211
p(573) 882-2467

Student Involvement

One (1) graduate student

Project Objective

This research program aimed at conducting experimental destructive and non-destructive tests on bridge J857, located in Phelps County, Missouri, in order to validate new strengthening technologies (i.e., externally bonded FRP sheets and near-surface mounted FRP rods). The bridge was constructed in 1932 and consisted of three solid reinforced concrete (RC) decks. The original drawings of the bridge are given in Appendix A. The research program aimed at demonstrating the feasibility and effectiveness of bridge deck and bridge pier strengthening using different types of externally bonded FRP reinforcement to increase their flexural strength. Bridge J857 was ideal for this demonstration since it represented typical conditions of several bridges in Missouri and the surrounding Mid-America states constructed during the first half of the 20th century.

Project Abstract

This report presents the results of a research program aimed at investigating the constructability and effectiveness of externally bonded FRP strengthening systems for improving the flexural capacity of bridge decks and piers. The joint effort of two universities, industry, and a state DOT provided the premise for a successful outcome. Bridge J857 was constructed in 1932 and was scheduled for demolition in the fall of 1998 due to highway realignment. Two of the three solid reinforced concrete (RC) decks were strengthened using two FRP systems namely, near-surface mounted carbon FRP (CFRP) rods and surface bonded CFRP sheets. Bridge decks were tested to failure under quasi-static loading cycles. Flexural strengthening of bridge columns was achieved by mounting CFRP rods on two opposite sides of the columns. Columns were also jacketed with carbon and glass FRP laminates. The experimental moment capacities of the decks compared well with theoretical values. Strengthened decks exhibited ductile behavior prior to FRP failure. The columns were tested to failure by applying lateral load cycles. The proposed strengthening technique for the bridge columns is feasible and effective for improving the flexural capacity of RC columns. The capacity of the strengthened column sections could be predicted using classical methods of analysis. Dynamic tests were conducted on the deck strengthened with CFRP sheets. The objective of dynamic tests was to relate the change in fundamental frequency to the induced damage, which could be used as a tool to assess the damage level of RC structural members. An effective damage indicator was identified that requires no baseline for damage level detection.

Task Description

  1. Strengthening and Non-Destructive Testing
  2. Destructive Testing of Bridge Decks
  3. Destructive Pier Testing
  4. Analysis of Results and Development of Analytical Models

Anticipated Benefits

With the expertise of the research team in FRP applications, field-testing capabilities, contribution of the industrial partners, and field demonstrations, the result of this project should help in verifying and demonstrating the effectiveness of FRP strengthening systems for the flexural upgrade of bridge components. Repair/strengthening of concrete bridges using FRP composites could save public funds and provide more efficient rehabilitation of structures. Standard specifications for design, construction, and quality control tests for FRP repair/strengthening are necessary to allow for its use in concrete highway structures. Although very interested in the benefits of FRP application, most state DOTs, design consultants and bridge engineers are unprepared or unwilling to use material systems not "sanctioned" by FHWA or AASHTO. With this project, capacity improvement will be verified in the field and the test results will be made available to public agencies.

Modal Orientation



Project Start Date:10/01/1998
Project End Date:09/30/1999

Relationship to other Research/Projects

This investigation was conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Technology Transfer Activities


Transportation Research Board Keywords

Bridge, fiber reinforced polymer, pier, deck, solid slabs, strengthening