Research Activities: 2001

Rapid Strengthening of Reinforced Concrete Bridges




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Sequential Number


Matching Research Agency

Wisconsin Highway Research Program (WHRP)

Principal Investigator

Lawrence C. Bank
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53715
p(608) 262-1604
f(608) 262-5199

Student Involvement

M.S. student and one undergraduate

Project Objective

The objective of the proposed research is to demonstrate the use of a rapid strengthening technique to increase the flexural capacity of an exisiting flat slab bridge in order to provide the WisDOT with in-field data and experience with a method that could be used in the future to rehabilitate many of the State's bridges.

Project Abstract

In the proposed research study a new and innovative technique for rapidly strengthening reinforced concrete members with fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) strips will be demonstrated in a full-scale application on an existing bridge in the State of Wisconsin. A team of researchers from the university of Wisconsin-Madison in collaboration with the University of Missouri-Rolla, and industrial partners will strengthen an existing flat slab bridge and perform service load and ultimate load tests on the bridge to evaluate the efficiency of the proposed rapid strengthening method.


Task Description

1. Beams of unit width (12) inches) with the same height, reinforcement ration and concrete strength as the bridge selected will be fabricated and tested in the Structures and Materials Testing Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The purpose of these tests will be to develop the control data for the ultimate strength of the unstrengthened and strengthened bridge and to examine the increases in the service load capacity of the bridge. 2. A plan for testing the selected bridge will be developed. The plan will address issues such as site access, materials transportation, strengthening procedure, instrumentation, and data collection. 3. Testing will be conducted according to the proposed schedule which will be coordinated with WisDOT staff. The UW team will supply all the data acquisition systems for monitoring the deflections and strains in the bridge during the service and ultimate load tests.

Anticipated Benefits

The proposed composite material powder actuated fastening method has potential to provide a rapid procedure that makes use of simple and inexpensive hand tools, light weight materials, unskilled labor, does not require significant preparation, and will allow for immediate use of the rehabilitated structure. In many cases the method could be used as a short-term, stop-gap measure to strengthen a deficient bridge prior to eventual replacement which may not be possible to schedule for many years due to construction budgets and backlogs.

Modal Orientation



Project Start Date:10/01/2001
Project End Date:09/30/2002

Relationship to other Research/Projects


Technology Transfer Activities

Collorabative efforts between WisDOT, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Missouri- Rolla

Transportation Research Board Keywords

Reinforced, bridges