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Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

10/01/19

END DATE

09/30/21

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC
SPONSORS

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

About the research

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has an important responsibility to provide safe and efficient transportation infrastructure for the traveling public. This is achieved by ensuring that assets operate reliably, while also limiting unnecessary restrictions to bridge traffic. As such, any decision to load post a bridge must ensure safety while also not being overly restrictive. WisDOT has recognized that there are many challenges in assessing bridge condition/performance and, as a result, has been updating their bridge load-rating program to include more data analytics, especially for their timber bridge inventory.

The goals of this project are to assist WisDOT in the following: 1) development of updated wheel load distribution width equations through physical load testing and analytical modeling of longitudinal timber slab bridges, 2) develop guidelines for conducting future load testing and establishment of the proof legal load capacity of similar bridges, 3) development of guidelines for potentially increasing the live load capacity of laminated timber bridges using various retrofit techniques, 4) validation or recommendation of improved moisture related timber correction factors based on field measure data, and 5) ultimately, the reduction in the number of timber slab bridges with over conservative load postings based on all of the above.

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

10/02/17

END DATE

10/01/19

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC
SPONSORS

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Katelyn Freeseman

Associate Director, BEC

Co-Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

About the research

Preservation of bridge decks has historically been achieved through varying types of concrete overlays, asphalt concrete overlays, miscellaneous asphalt overlays, polymer overlays, deck replacement, deck sealers, or crack repairs. The selection of the appropriate maintenance technique varies widely, as does the timing of implementation. These methods are of critical importance in cold weather climates, such as Wisconsin, due to the regular use of deicing chemicals and their associated detrimental effect on deck reinforcement. Determining the optimum method and corresponding timing of installation, through cost-benefit analyses of the resulting service life, is thus an important criterion to define.

The main objective of this research project is to develop a cost-effective lifecycle treatment plan for preservation of Wisconsin bridge decks. The research team will identify a comprehensive list of strategies through the review of current practice and DOT policies, provide data-driven estimates of performance of treatments and optimum timing with respect to condition and age analyzing historic bridge condition data from WisDOT and other state DOTs, and develop a lifecycle treatment plan based on the research finding and engineering economics principles. Another objective of the research is to validate current WisDOT practice and policies, which are consistent with the findings, and recommend necessary updates that will provide WisDOT with a cost-effective and long-term bridge preservation strategy.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

11/17/14

END DATE

06/30/16

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC, CTRE
SPONSORS

Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Wisconsin Highway Research Program

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

About the research

Since the early 2000s, several federal programs have existed to provide bridge owners with funding to cover “delta” costs associated with implementing new, emerging, and innovative bridge technologies. While these programs have generally included an evaluation component, there generally has not been a concerted effort to track the performance of these innovative bridges following the completion of the initial project.

The goal of this work was to conduct field reviews of the condition and performance of several innovative bridge concepts constructed in Wisconsin. The completion of this work was to provide a much needed review of the performance of these bridge as they had been in service for several years.

This report documents the condition of 11 innovative bridges or innovative bridge features in Wisconsin. The bridges have innovative technologies consisting of the following: inverted T-beams, exodermic deck, geosynthetic-reinforced soil (GRS) abutments, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) components, steel free deck, bi-directional post-tensioning, stainless steel reinforcement, and precast substructure components. Collectively, these innovations represent departures from conventional bridge design and construction—but aren’t so radical that further adoption would be impossible.

The results of the 11 bridge evaluations, each of which followed a protocol specific to the bridge, are contained in a mini-report as part of this final report. Each mini-report documents general bridge information, briefly describes the innovation used, and provides the result of the evaluation.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

08/13/13

END DATE

05/30/15

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC, CEER, CTRE
SPONSORS

Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Wisconsin Highway Research Program

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Pavana Vennapusa

Research Assistant Professor

Co-Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

About the research

In bridge abutment design, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) assumes the granular backfill material used behind bridge abutments as free-draining and no hydrostatic pressures are applied on the wall. This research investigated whether backfill materials meet the assumption of a freely-drained condition through a detailed laboratory and field study. In addition, the researchers investigated the viability of using recycled-asphalt pavement (RAP) and shingles (RAS) for granular backfill.

Laboratory testing involved characterizing the materials in terms of gradation/classification, erodibility, permeability, shear strength, and volume change (i.e., water-induced collapse). Laboratory tests revealed bulking moisture content for natural materials and collapse upon wetting. RAP and RAS materials exhibited collapse upon wetting and creep under constant loading.

The researchers performed scaled abutment model testing to assess pore pressure dissipation rates for the different materials and calibrate input parameters to predict drainage using fine element analysis (FEA). Abutment model testing indicated that addition of geocomposite vertical drain can substantially increase pore pressure dissipation rates and avoid material erosion.

Field testing involved in situ permeability, shear strength, and moisture content testing, and monitoring lateral earth pressures and pore pressures behind abutment walls at four bridges.

Results indicated that field conditions are more complex than the simple linear stress distribution typically assumed in the design for lateral earth pressures. Lateral earth pressures were greater than assumed in design over a majority of the monitoring period of this study.

Pore pressures behind an abutment wall were observed at one site following flooding. Predicted pore pressure dissipations using numerical analysis matched well with the measured values.

The researchers provided recommendations specific to the current WisDOT practice for abutment granular backfill design and construction as part of this project.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

08/13/13

END DATE

02/12/15

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC, CTRE
SPONSORS

Federal Highway Administration State Planning and Research Funding
Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

Principal Investigator
Justin Dahlberg

Research Engineer, BEC

About the research

Within the recent past, the Wisconsin DOT changed the bridge approach slab design from a system using only one expansion joint to a system using three expansion joints (SDD 13B2). This change was due primarily to the need to accommodate differential expansion and contraction between the approach pavement and the bridge. Since implementing the new design detail, the Wisconsin DOT has become aware of the detail’s difficulty of constructability. As such, a more easily constructed, new standard design with one expansion joint and a sleeper slab was created (Bridge Standard 12) and has been used more recently. A review and analysis of Wisconsin approach slab performance was completed and other states’ practices were reviewed. As a result of this work, several conclusions and recommendations were made. Several are listed below.

The expansion and contraction requirement does not warrant the use of multiple expansion and contraction joints as seen in SDD 13B2. SDD 13B2 is more highly susceptible to inadequacies within the approach supporting materials. It is critical that the materials are prepared well and methods of preservation are built into the system for long-term performance.

For Bridge Standard 12, it is recommended that the slab design is revisited to ensure it is properly sized and reinforced to act as a bridge between the sleeper slab and abutment paving notch in the event that settlement of the backfill and subbase occurs. The continued use of a sleeper slab at the joint between the mainline pavement and approach slab is recommended. The continued use of polyethylene sheeting between the approach slab and supporting materials/sleeper slab interface is recommended

Attention should paid to the abutment backfill and approach support materials to mitigate potential differential settlement through improved compaction, reduced erosion, and/or use of alternative materials. Consideration should be given to flooding the structural backfill assuming the use of the current materials is maintained to eliminate post-construction collapse of the backfill material. Consideration should be given to alternative backfill materials such as geocomposite drains and/or recycled tire chips.

WisDOT project page

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

PROJECT NUMBER

08-323, TPF(5)169

START DATE

06/01/08

END DATE

01/01/14

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC, CTRE
SPONSORS

Federal Highway Administration Transportation Pooled Fund
Iowa Department of Transportation
Ohio Department of Transportation
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

About the research

Nationally, there is concern regarding the design, fabrication, and erection of horizontally-curved steel girder bridges due to unpredicted girder displacements, fit-up, and locked-in stresses. One reason for the concerns is that up to one-quarter of steel girder bridges are being designed with horizontal curvature. The concerns are significant enough that a National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) research problem statement was developed and given high priority for funding.

It is also noted that an urgent need exists to reduce bridge maintenance costs by eliminating or reducing deck joints. This can be achieved by expanding the use of integral abutments to include curved girder bridges.

The long-term objective of this effort is to establish guidelines for the use of integral abutments with curved girder bridges. The primary objective of this work was to monitor and evaluate the behavior of six in-service, horizontally-curved, steel-girder bridges with integral and semi-integral abutments. In addition, the influence and behavior of fixed and expansion piers were considered.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

10/01/09

END DATE

07/31/13

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CTRE
SPONSORS

California Department of Transportation
Colorado Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration Transportation Pooled Fund
Illinois Department of Transportation
Indiana Department of Transportation
Iowa Department of Transportation
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Missouri Department of Transportation
Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Chris Williams

Director, AMPP

Student Researcher(s)
Andrew Cascione
Jianhua Yu

About the research

State highway agencies are increasingly intersted in using recycled asphalt shingles (RAS) in hot mix asphalt (HMA) applications, yet many agencies share common questions about the effect of RAS on the performance of HMA. Previous research has allowed for only limited laboratory testing and field surveys. The complexity of RAS materials and lack of past experiences led to the creation of Transportation Pooled Fund (TPF) Program TPF-5(213). The primary goal of this study is to address research needs of state DOT and environmental officials to determine the best practices for the use of recycled asphalt shingles in hot-mix asphalt applications.Agencies participating in the study include Missouri (lead state), California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Federal Highway Administration. The agencies conducted demonstration projects that focused on evaluating different aspects (factors) of RAS that include RAS grind size, RAS percentage, RAS source (post-consumer versus post-manufactured), RAS in combination with warm mix asphalt technology, RAS as a fiber replacement for stone matrix asphalt, and RAS in combination with ground tire rubber. Field mixes from each demonstration project were sampled for conducting the following tests: dynamic modulus, flow number, four-point beam fatigue, semi-circular bending, and binder extraction and recovery with subsequent binder characterization. Pavement condition surveys were then conducted for each project after completion.

The demonstration projects showed that pavements using RAS alone or in combination with other cost saving technologies (e.g., WMA, RAP, GTR, SMA) can be successfully produced and meet state agency quality assurance requirements. The RAS mixes have very promising prospects since laboratory test results indicate good rutting and fatigue cracking resistance with low temperature cracking resistance similar to the mixes without RAS. The pavement condition of the mixes in the field after two years corroborated the laboratory test results. No signs of rutting, wheel path fatigue cracking, or thermal cracking were exhibited in the pavements. However, transverse reflective cracking from the underlying jointed concrete pavement was measured in the Missouri, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, and Minnesota projects.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

02/01/03

END DATE

12/01/07

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, CP Tech Center, CTRE
SPONSORS

American Concrete Pavement Association
Concrete paving industry
Federal Highway Administration
Georgia Department of Transportation
Indiana Department of Transportation
Iowa Department of Transportation
Kansas Department of Transportation
Lousiana Department of Transportation
Michigan Department of Transportation
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Nebraska Department of Roads
New York State Department of Transportation
North Carolina Department of Transportation
North Dakota Department of Transportation
Ohio Department of Transportation
Oklahoma Department of Transportation
South Dakota Department of Transportation
Texas Department of Transportation
Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Jim Grove

PCC Engineer

Co-Principal Investigator
Tom Cackler
Student Researcher(s)
Fatih Bektas

About the research

The objectives of this five-year Transportation Pooled Fund study are to evaluate conventional and new technologies and procedures for testing concrete and concrete materials to prevent material and construction problems that could lead to premature concrete pavement distress, and to develop a suite of tests that provides a comprehensive method of ensuring long-term pavement performance. A preliminary suite of tests to ensure long-term pavement performance has been developed. Shadow construction projects are being conducted to evaluate the preliminary suite of tests. A mobile concrete testing laboratory has been designed and equipped to facilitate the shadow projects. The results of the project are being compiled in a user-friendly field manual, which will be available by summer 2006.

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

10/01/03

END DATE

09/30/05

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC, CTRE
SPONSORS

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

Co-Principal Investigator
Terry Wipf

Faculty Affiliate

Co-Principal Investigator
Lowell Greimann

Bridge Engineer

About the research

Project Details
STATUS

Completed

START DATE

10/01/03

END DATE

09/30/04

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC, CTRE
SPONSORS

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

Co-Principal Investigator
Terry Wipf

Faculty Affiliate

Co-Principal Investigator
Lowell Greimann

Bridge Engineer

Student Researcher(s)
Yoon-Si Lee

About the research

The objective of this research was to synthesize information on structural health monitoring technologies with a specific interest in those having smart-structure attributes. Following a comprehensive information collection campaign and a survey of State Departments of Transportation, the identified structural health monitoring technologies (both currently in use and emerging) were carefully reviewed and summarized. This final report includes a brief summary of the history of bridge evaluation in the United States of America, current and future trends of Structural Health Monitoring, and a series of completed SHM Technology Evaluation Forms for each of the identified technologies. In addition, a searchable database has been developed and is included with the final report that allows easy identification and review of structural health monitoring technologies. This volume (Volume I) summarizes the research approach and the key findings of the work. Volume II consists of completed SHM Technology Evaluation Forms for the 101 synthesized technologies.

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