Research Activities: 2004

Development and Field Testing of an FRP Composite Bridge Decks Comprising of Guard Rail System for Bridge 1480230, Greene County, Mo


Complete                                                                 View Report:   PDF

Sequential Number


Matching Research Agency

Greene County

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

A PhD student.


Project Objectives

The objectives of the project can be summarized as follows:

  • Demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of using FRP composite bridge decks in bridge rehabilitation;
  • Develop FRP guard rail system;
  • Perform technology transfer to counties.

Project Abstract

The objective of the rehabilitation program of Bridge 1480230 in Springfield, MO in Greene County is to remove the 15 Ton load posting that has been imposed on it. An inspection of the bridge revealed a severely damaged deck in need to be replaced. The structural analysis has demonstrated deficiency in the steel girders as well as possible deficiencies in bents and piers. The rehabilitation plan will consist in the following steps:

  1. Replacing the concrete deck using a low weight, high perforce Glass FRP composite deck;
  2. Retrofitting or replacement of existing steel girders. Different solutions will be considered to determine the optimal design in terms of structural performances, durability and cost of the structure. Also the possibility of using Carbon FRP composite girders is under investigation allowing to reduce the weight of the superstructure and therefore to avoid the strengthening of bents and piers.
  3. Design of the strengthening of bents and piers if needed;
  4. Developing of an FRP guard rail system ensuring the durability of the entire superstructure and therefore reducing the maintenance costs.

The project will include a field and laboratory investigations necessary to validate the assumptions to be made for design of the rehabilitation.
In addition, sensors will be embedded in the FRP members in order to monitor the structural performances of the bridge over time. The different sensors will be remotely read allowing in such way detecting any possible structural flaw.
UMR will perform a load test after construction to ensure the in-situ structural performances of the bridge and it will perform a five years inspection (one load test per year).
It is envisioned that this rehabilitation technique will lead to a design/maintenance protocol for consideration by Counties for future applications.


Anticipated Benefits

To implement FRP composite technologies in the rehabilitation of existing bridges.


Modal Orientation

Bridge Design and Assessment, Development of Guard Rail System


Project Start Date:
Project End Date:12/31/09

Relationship to other Research/Projects


Technology Transfer Activities

To assist in technology transfer, the project deliverables include a final technical report and technical papers. In addition tech transfer days will be organized at UMR, at the local office of the County and a regionally.


Transportation Research Board Keywords

FRP decks, Fiber reinforced polymer, fiber optics, wireless network, in-situ load testing, deck replacement, guard rail system, crush test and pendulum test.