There is very little technical information available on “what to do” following a bridge fire. As such, bridge owners do not have much guidance as to how to assess the amount of damage resulting from a fire nor do they have information as to how to repair or replace structures identified as “too damaged.” Recently, a bridge on I-29 near Sioux City, Iowa, caught fire causing various levels of damage to multiple pre-stressed concrete girders. Visual inspection and load testing of the bridge were completed to aid in the development of a response. However, the lack of available information on reacting to bridge fire damage leaves more questions than answers. Fortunately, fire damage of bridges is a rare occurrence. However, this should not be construed to mean fire-damaged bridges do not require tools for assessment and repair. As was the case near Sioux City, those charged with making the decisions for the bridge, both immediate and long-term, are without any real clear tools to aid their decision. Research to develop guidelines is needed.
The primary objective is to gain technical information related to the evaluation, repair, or replacement of concrete girders after being damaged by a fire. Specifically, the goals are to:
Document the condition of fire-damaged girders by visual inspection
Evaluate the fire impact on serviceability and strength through load testing