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Standardized plans, designs, and concepts to use prefabricated elements to build and replace bridges faster.

Innovative Bridge Designs for Rapid Renewal (R04)

Challenge

The nation’s aging bridge inventory, increased traffic congestion, and work-zone safety concerns call for new approaches to traditional sequential “construct-in-place” bridge building methods. The industry must find smarter, faster ways to replace bridges using techniques that will provide economies of scale in manufacturing and construction, reduce traffic disruption, and increase safety. Prefabricated bridge elements have been used in a number of states, but to date, each design is unique and requires a high level of engineering and construction oversight.

Solution

SHRP2’s Bridge Designs for Rapid Renewal product provides state and local departments of transportation with a design toolkit for prefabricated bridge projects. Standardized approaches streamline the activities required to get bridge replacement systems designed, fabricated, and erected in less time, and installed in hours or days, rather than weeks or months.

The R04 toolkit provides the following:

  • Standard design details, specifications, and concepts for foundation systems, substructure and superstructure systems, subsystems, and components.
  • Recommended specification language for ABC systems that are suitable for future inclusion in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Bridge Design and Construction Specifications.
  • A guidebook with instruction for bridge owners to use prefabricated elements that allows for rapid, cost-effective bridge replacements.
  • Design examples for complete prefabricated bridge systems.

Although the need for an engineer of record is not eliminated completely, this toolkit makes prefabrication design accessible to more bridge owners, designers, and contractors at the state, county, and local levels.

Benefits

The R04 product can be used to build or replace typical bridges faster and at a lower overall cost. The concepts can be incorporated into thousands of small to medium span bridge projects with minimal alterations, resulting in reduced onsite construction time, minimized traffic delay and community disruption, improved work zone safety, and improved quality when compared with traditional construction practices. Using the toolkit and capitalizing on standardized approaches also enables local contractors and smaller agencies to deliver prefabricated bridge systems, since, in some cases, no special equipment or construction techniques are required.

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