Forensic Testing of Prestress Concrete Girders After Forty Years of Service

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-004

Fiscal Year: 2011/2012

Status: Final

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Paul Barr, Utah State University, Patrick Szary, Ph.D.

External Author(s): Abdul Wakil

Sponsor(s): Utah Department of Transportation, FHWA - RITA


All across the United States, various state departments of transportation are faced with the problem of an aging infrastructure and insufficient resources to meet the needs.  As a result, many bridges are being subjected service lives that are longer than originally anticipated when originally designed.  Understanding the behavior of this aging infrastructure is essential to making judicious decisions with the limited resources.  In 2012, the 400 South Overpass  in Orem, Utah was scheduled for replacement.  This bridge had been in service for over forty years.  Approximately 20 years ago the bridge was widened to allow for the increased traffic along this corridor.  The decommissioned bridge allowed for a unique opportunity to study the behavior of prestressed concrete bridge girders of the same span length built in accordance to two difference codes.  It is proposed to test eight bridge girders (four old and four new) to quantify the behavior.  The measured behavior will then be compared with the predicted behavior according to current design standards.  The accuracy of current code procedures to predict behavior of girders that have been in service for an extended period of time will be evaluated.  Findings will provide tools for judicious bridge management.