About the research
MnDOT is constructing a pair of side-by-side bridges on TH 169, one with Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) deck reinforcement and the other with conventional epoxy-coated steel reinforcement. Because these two bridges will be exposed to the same environmental conditions, 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.
Although there is wide use of GFRP reinforcement in bridge decks in some parts of Canada, there have been only a few GFRP reinforced bridge decks built in the US. The Canadian decks were primarily designed using the empirical design method outlined in the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code and offered as an “alternative design approach” in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) code. The empirical design method differs significantly from the more traditional design guidelines given by AASHTO and American Concrete Institute (ACI), both in overall design philosophy and the resulting details.
The main goals of the project are to:
- Collect the behavior information and response characteristics of the two bridge decks under service loads,
- Examine the durability characteristics of the two bridge decks, and
- Assess the impact of using non-conventional, corrosion-resistant deck reinforcement on maintenance needs and life-cycle cost with a specific interest in including service life-design philosophies.
The outcome of this project will directly contribute to the development of guidance and details for the construction of corrosion-resistant bridges with service lives beyond 100 years.