About the research
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is constructing a pair of side-by-side bridges on TH 169, one with GFRP deck reinforcement and the other with conventional epoxy-coated steel reinforcement. Because these two bridges will be exposed to the same environmental conditions, they will experience very similar traffic, and will be constructed within the same timeframe, a unique opportunity exists to identify and evaluate differences in performance between them. Thus, the main goals of the proposed project are to: (1) collect the behavior information and response characteristics of the two bridge decks under service loads, (2) examine the short-and long-term durability characteristics of the two bridge decks, and (3) assess the impact of using non-conventional, corrosion-resistant deck reinforcement on maintenance needs and life-cycle cost. Although there is wide use of GFRP reinforcement in bridge decks in some parts of Canada, there have been only few GFRP reinforced bridge decks built in the US. The Canadian decks were primarily designed using the empirical design method in the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code. This method differs significantly from the design guidelines produced by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Concrete Institute (ACI). To maximize the knowledge and experience in the use of nonmetallic reinforcement in the bridge decks and understand how the performance and durability of them are compared with conventional decks reinforced with epoxy-coated steel rebars, a systematic effort has been planned for this project.The outcome of this project will directly contribute to the development of guidance and details to construct corrosion-resistant bridges with service lives beyond 100 years.