Research Activities: 2004

Assessment of Bridge Technologies through Field Testing


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Sequential Number


Matching Research Agency

University of Wisconsin -- Madison

Principal Investigator

Nestore Galati Ph.D
Research Scholar
University of Missouri-Rolla
221 Engineering Research Lab
Rolla, Missouri 65409
p(573) 341-6223
f(573) 341-6215


Student Involvement

One graduate student

Project Objectives

Assessment of new bridge structures utilizing conventional reinforced concrete (RC) and FRP technologies in order to demonstrate the viability of advanced construction methods aimed at improving constructability and long-term durability of the transportation infrastructure.


Project Abstract

A total of four bridges will be load tested as part of this research project. The bridges were recently built by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WDOT). Two bridges, namely B200133 and B200134, are located Waupun, Wisconsin. Bridge B200134 was constructed using an FRP reinforcement system which was designed to simulate the conventional steel rebar reinforcement system typically used in a concrete bridge deck. The FRP reinforcement system was composed of three components:

  • FRP stay-in-place deck panel,
  • FRP bi-directional grid, and
  • FRP bars.

Built adjacent to Bridge B200134 with an FRP reinforced deck, is nominally identical to B200133 whose deck was reinforced with conventional steel bars. This structure serves as the benchmark for comparison studies to be conducted on the two decks.

The remaining two bridges, namely B20148 and B20149, are located in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Similarly to the first two bridges in Waupun , B20148 and B20149 were also constructed as "twin"bridges: the former utilizing FRP bars as reinforcement and the latter using conventional steel reinforcement.

The load tests on all structures will allow detecting differences in response as a result of the construction technology.

In addition, a non-contact deflection monitoring method that makes use of a high performance Total Station System, commonly employed for high precision surveying, will be used to remotely measure and record girder and deck displacements. This method to measure deflections will be implemented on the four bridges and may be used also at a later time for long-term evaluation.


Anticipated Benefits

The field testing of the bridges will demonstrate the use of FRP composite materials in new construction to replace conventional steel reinforcement, avoiding the problems related to steel corrosion and strength degradation.


Modal Orientation

Assessment of FRP composite materials as reinforcement of bridge structures.


Project Start Date:
July 15, 2004
Project End Date:September 30, 2005

Relationship to other Research/Projects

In Situ Load Testing of Bridge Structures.

Technology Transfer Activities

A final technical report and technical papers.

Transportation Research Board Keywords

Accelerometers, Deflection, Flexural Stiffness, FRP Materials, Total Station System.