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Research Activities: 2004
Structural Assessment of the I-70 Blanchette Bridge
Matching Research Agency
Missouri Department of Transportation
One graduate student
The scope of this project is the structural assessment of the I-70 Blanchette Bridge located over the Missouri River in St. Charles, Missouri.
The Blanchette Bridge carries Interstate 70 across the Missouri River, connecting St. Louis and St. Charles counties. The bridge is a vital link in the national interstate system and the regional highway network, and is one of the most used structures in the MoDOT system, carrying over 180,000 vehicles per day (total). Any limitation of traffic on the bridge has major consequences for local and national transportation users, making the reliability of the structure critical. One of the stringers recently experienced a crack, apparently initiated at the top flange, in a section where tensile stresses of concern are not typically expected. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) repaired the stringer by placing a splice over the crack. It is imperative however to identify the reasons why a crack formed at such location in order to prevent any similar occurrence.
The objectives of this research project can be summarized as follows:
Based on the data gathered and on the analyses performed, the probable cause of the crack initiation and development will be investigated. If needed, refined analytical/numerical studies will also be performed. From the findings, the objectives are also a) to establish whether other stringers in the structure are at risk, and b) in such case, develop inspection and mitigation strategies to manage the risk. The results obtained from such study will be generalized to bridge having same characteristics.
Relationship to other Research/Projects
Technology Transfer Activities
The following are the technology transfer activities for the current investigation:
Transportation Research Board Keywords
Crack Propagation, Fatigue and Thermal Loads, Structural Assessment, Inspection and Mitigation Strategies, Risk Management