Research Activities: 2004

Strengthening of Rural Bridges Using Rapid-Installation FRP Technology


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Sequential Number


Matching Research Agency

Counties of Phelps, Crawford, Washington, and Dent

Principal Investigator

Lesley Bennish
Meramac Regional Planning Commission
4 Industrial Drive
St. James, MO. 65559



Student Involvement

Three graduate students

Project Objectives

Flexural strengthening of rural bridge structures located in Crawford, Dent, Phelps and Washington counties using Mechanically Fastened Fiber Reinforced Polymers (MF-FRP) laminates.


Project Abstract

Transportation infrastructure is one of the major economic development needs for the Meramec Region. Local roads and bridges affect the economic welfare of the region by providing links to the major routes. Local roads and bridges are the collector systems into the larger state highway system for the transport of manufactured products and agricultural goods, accessing employment centers, and bringing travelers and tourists to the region. While many residents are engaged in agriculture and use the roads for farm-to-market routes, a growing number of people are working in cities and living in unincorporated areas relying on rural roads to commute to work. Aging bridges prohibit growth in much of the region because they severely limit access to many communities. Over one-third of the rural bridges in Crawford, Dent, Phelps and Washington counties are considered deficient by MoDOT standards. Much of the problems with local bridges are due to age and obsolete design.

The objective of this research project is to upgrade the existing flexural capacity of rural bridge structures located in the Crawford, Dent, Phelps and Washington counties using Mechanically Fastened Fiber Reinforced Polymers (MF-FRP) laminates. FRP materials have been proven to be a practical alternative for construction and renovation of bridges. Advantages of FRP materials are that they resist corrosion, long outlive conventional materials, and have high strength-to-weight ratio. The system used in this research project consists of pre-cured FRP laminates bolted onto the concrete surface. The system presents the following advantages in addition to those of a conventional FRP strengthening method:

  • Use of simple hand-tools;
  • Strengthening can be performed by unskilled labor;
  • No surface preparation is required;
  • Immediate use of the strengthened structure.

The performances of the bridges will also be determined after their strengthening by performing load tests.


Anticipated Benefits

Strengthening will remove load postings or significantly increase postings so that bridges will be open to more traffic. These bridges will allow for more access from county roads to major routes running through the area, directly impacting the economic development potential of the region.


Modal Orientation

Bridge Strengthening


Project Start Date:
Project End Date:09/01/2006

Relationship to other Research/Projects

Strengthening of Bridge Structures

Technology Transfer Activities

Technical reports will be prepared for selected strengthened bridges and technical papers for journals and presentations.

Transportation Research Board Keywords

Mechanically Fastened Fiber Reinforced Polymers (MF-FRP) Laminates, Load Rating, Finite Elements Modeling; Fiber Optics, Health Monitoring