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Arrow FRP Composite Bridge Decking

FRP Composite Bridge Decking: Development, Qualification Testing, and Installation of a Non-Proprietary System

July 23, 2013
2:30 – 4:00 pm Eastern

This webinar will highlight the benefits of a non-proprietary composite decking system refined under the Highways for LIFE program for applications where a lightweight bridge deck is needed. The new system will be described and illustrated, including details for installation on a typical steel girder bridge. Presenters will describe a battery of tests done on full-scale deck panels to validate the design and then present the step-by-step sequence of an actual field installation.

Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite decks have been used on over 100 bridges in the U.S. but widespread acceptance has been dampened by an initial cost that is higher than conventional alternatives. Since the FRP decks used in the past have been protected by patents, public agencies have been reluctant to specify a sole source item on a routine basis. Therefore, lack of competition from non-proprietary FRP decks may also be restricting their use. There have also been some instances of cracking or debonding of wearing surfaces. The objective of the just-completed Technology Partnerships project was to address each of these impediments to adoption of this technology. Trials have shown that composite bridge decking can significantly reduce the time required for rehabilitation projects.

The deck is considered a hybrid system because it employs several types of materials to achieve the strength and stiffness that are necessary for a high performance, low maintenance deck that can remain in service for the life of the bridge.

This session will include a few short presentations followed by an open discussion among all panel members and session participants.


  • Lou Triandafilou, P.E., FHWA Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center


  • Jerome O’Connor, P.E., BridgeComposites, LLC – Project Team Leader O’Connor will present the history, performance objectives, design parameters, and fundamental concepts of the deck design used in the Highways for LIFE project. He’ll cover problems encountered with past FRP decks and the preventative measures that were developed to avoid a recurrence. A specification for future deployment of a generic hybrid deck will be proposed.

  • Maria Lopez de Murphy, Ph. D. Penn State University – Dr. Lopez de Murphy, Penn State University, will explain the testing regimen she used to evaluate the technical performance of the components and deck system as a whole.

  • Jeremy Ferris, P.E., Allegany County NY – Mr. Ferris will describe the deck system from an owner’s perspective. He advised the project team of his needs and preferences during development of the design and installation details and oversaw an installation by County forces in 2012.



Julie Zirlin
Center for Accelerating Innovation

PDF files can be viewed with the Acrobat® Reader®
Updated: 06/26/2013

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration