Laboratory and field testing and evaluation of precast bridge elements
Terry J. Wipf
The importance of rapid construction technologies has been recognized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Iowa DOT Office of Bridges and Structures. Black Hawk County (BHC) has developed a precast modified beam-in-slab bridge (PMBISB) system for use with accelerated construction. A typical PMBISB is comprised of five to six precast MBISB panels and is used on low-volume roads, on short spans, and is installed and fabricated by county forces. Precast abutment caps and a precast abutment backwall were also developed by BHC for use with the PMBISB. The objective of the research was to gain knowledge of the global behavior of the bridge system in the field, to quantify the strength and behavior of the individual precast components, and to develop a more time efficient panel-to-panel field connection. Precast components tested in the laboratory include two precast abutment caps, three different types of deck panel connections, and a precast abutment backwall. The abutment caps and backwall were tested for behavior and strength. The three panel-to-panel connections were tested in the lab for strength and were evaluated based on cost and constructability. Two PMBISB were tested in the field to determine stresses, lateral distribution characteristics, and overall global behavior.