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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations



Research and Development (R&D) Project Sites

Project Information
Project ID:   FHWA-PROJ-11-0107
Project Name:   Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) – Timber Bridge: A Sustainable Bridge Construction for Low-Volume Roads
Project Status:   Programmed
Start Date:  April 2, 2012
End Date:  December 31, 2014
Contact Information
Last Name:  Jalinoos
First Name:  Frank
Telephone:  202-493-3082
E-mail:  frank.jalinoos@dot.gov
Office:   Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Team:   Hazard Mitigation Team [HRDI-50]
Program:   IRT (Infrastructure Research and Technology)
Laboratory:   J. Sterling Jones Hydraulics Laboratory
Project detail
Roadmap/Focus area(s):   Infrastructure Research and Technology Strategic Plan and Roadmap
Project Description:   Members of the Hazard Mitigation and Bridge and Foundation Engineering teams at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) will work together to demonstrate the feasibility of a single-span demonstration/test bridge combining the geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS), Integrated Bridge System (IBS), and timber superstructure design. The project will showcase the use of renewable materials of engineered soils and woods in bridge construction. The team will collaborate with the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to advance the construction of rapid and inexpensive single-span timber bridges.
The objectives of this project are to:
(1) Investigate the compatibility of geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) bridge design with a timber superstructure.
2) Field test, when possible, newer wood preservatives.
3) Monitor performance of the GRS-timber bridge system.
Background Information:   The project will demonstrate the feasibility of the engineered wood/soil/rock bridge technologies and showcase the use of sustainable building products. The proposed short-span (typically less than 80 ft (24 m)) geosynthetic reinforced soil (GRS) timber bridge will be ideal for rural road construction, which will deploy a local workforce.
Field Test:   Field monitoring research in cooperation with the Forest Products Laboratory.
Product Type:   Research report
Technical report
Test Methodology:   The team at Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center will collaborate with the Forest Products Laboratory for the performance monitoring of geosynthetic reinforced soil timber in laboratory and the field.
Expected Benefits:   The benefits of the GRS-Timber bridges include: Accelerated bridge construction (ABC)—higher speed of construction, typically 10 days start to finish. Jointless integral bridge construction, eliminating the “bump at the end of the bridge” and cracking due to thermal cycles and deterioration due to corrosion. Use of nonspecialized local workforce. Use of simple machinery, mitigating the requirements for heavy construction equipment for concreting or steel erection. Ideal bridge construction technology for small span off-system local bridges. Construction that is weather independent. Simplified bridge plans. Reduced construction and likely maintenance/life-cycle costs.
Deliverables: Name: Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) – Timber Bridge.
Product Type(s): Research report, Techbrief, Technical report
Description: The product is monitoring research in cooperation with the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) that will include a research report.
FHWA Topics:   Roads and Bridges--Geotechnical
TRT Terms:   Bridge Construction
Wooden Bridges
FHWA Disciplines:   Construction and Project Management
Subject Areas:   Bridges and other structures


Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101