Research Reports

Application of Precast Decks and Other Elements to Bridge Structures

Principal Investigator:

Charles M Bell, Catherine E French, Carol K Shield

September 2006

Report no. MnDOT 2006-37

Projects: Application of Precast Decks and other Elements to Bridge Structures

Topics: Bridge design and sensing

A number of countries have incorporated precast components in bridge superstructures and substructures. Precast components include deck, abutment, and wall elements. Benefits of using precast elements in bridge construction include the high level of quality control that can be achieved in plant cast production compared to field cast operations and speed of construction afforded by the assembly of precast elements at the site rather than the time consuming on site forming and casting required in cast-in-place construction. Key components in the application of precast concrete to bridge structures are the connection elements. Connection details include the use of posttensioning systems, and various connection details such as weld plates, studs in grout pockets, and shear keys. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) constructed a bridge incorporating precast elements to enable rapid construction. The objective of this study was to develop an instrumentation plan to enable investigation of the performance of this bridge. Researchers developed an instrumentation plan based on information provided by the MnDOT bridge office regarding the specific bridge details and behaviors to be investigated. The instrumentation plan included the types and locations of the instruments.

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