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Analysis Will Help State and Local Governments Identify Cost-Effective Short-Span Bridge Options

Posted: Aug 31, 2020

MPC researchers conducted a systematic study on the long-term cost effectiveness of various short-span concrete structures. The research will help state and local governments choose the most cost-effective options when replacing concrete structures on their road networks. The research included analysis of performance data from existing short-span concrete structures on the South Dakota roadway system. The researchers used cost records from the South Dakota Department of Transportation, a survey of county superintendents and information from owners, inspectors and designers.

The researchers concluded that the precast concrete culvert is a cost-effective option for structures shorter than 30 feet if the hydrological condition allows. A cast-in-place concrete slab bridge is a good option for longer multi-span applications because it eliminates problematic joints. Prestressed tee bridges have consistent performance and cost-effectiveness for all span requirements over 30 feet. The newly adopted construction method using precast I girders with cast-in-place bridge decks shows superior performance and cost effectiveness at mid- to long-span applications when compared with prestressed tee bridges. However, both the I-girders with cast-in-place deck and precast culverts have relatively short histories and track records in South Dakota. Their performance should be monitored closely in the future to verify their cost-effectiveness.

Shiling Pei, Ph.D.
Colorado School of Mines

Evaluation of Cost Effectiveness, Performance, and Selection Criteria for Concrete Structures

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050