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Bridges & Structures

Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Research Projects

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Bridges and Structures develops regulations, policies, and guidelines to ensure successful delivery of the national bridge and tunnel program. The Office supports advancement of state-of-the-art technologies and provides leadership in the deployment of such technologies to maintain or improve the safety and durability of the Nation’s bridges and highway structures.

The FHWA deploys information on new and improved technologies through the stewardship and oversight of the State Department of Transportations (States) and during hands-on design and construction reviews. This information is provided through the development of reports, manuals, guidance, and training on design, construction, inspection, evaluation, and maintenance in the relevant areas of bridge and tunnel engineering. The areas include steel bridges, concrete bridges, load rating of bridges and tunnel structures, seismic and multi-hazard resilience, tunnels, bridge and tunnel security, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite technology, and bridge safety inspection.

FY 2020 BAA Research Topics and Awarded Projects Under Each Topic

Security and Safety of Bridges from Human-Made Hazards (HIBS10-BTS-001)

  • Design and Detailing Guidelines for Enhanced Security and Safety of Bridges against Human-Made Hazards
    • Abstract: This project will assess the vulnerability of bridges, develop effective mitigation strategies, and suggest design guidelines against human-made hazards, including vehicle collisions and related combustion.
  • Performance-Based Design Guidance for Evaluating and Mitigating Fire Hazards for Highway Bridges
    • Abstract: This project will develop a framework to establish performance-based design guidelines for the evaluation and mitigation of severe fire hazards for highway bridges.
  • Establishing Engineering Practices for Bridge Security
    • Abstract: This project will establish baseline engineering practices for both experimental and numerical methods to be used in verifying and validating the performance of protective measures implemented in a highway bridge design.

Bridge Post-Tensioning Laboratory (HIBS10-CB-001)

  • Business Plan for a Bridge Post-Tensioning (PT) Laboratory at the Concrete Bridge Engineering Institute (CBEI)
    • Abstract: This project will create a business plan for a possible Bridge Post-tensioning (PT) Laboratory. The business plan will include budgetary analysis of the infrastructure to initially establish the PT Laboratory as well as a plan for long-term operation.

Post-Tensioning Tendon Force Assessment for In-Service Bridges (HIBS10-CB-002)

  • Measurement of Post-Tensioning Tendon Force Using Optical Fiber Technology
    • Abstract: This project will perform the steps required for the implementation of optical fiber technology for the in-service assessment of post-tensioning (PT) tendon force for bridges in the U.S.

Safety Inspection and Evaluation of Bridges with FRP Composites (HIBS10-FRP-001)

  • Guide for Field Inspection of In-service FRP Reinforced/Strengthened Concrete Bridge Elements
    • Abstract: This project will develop the framework of a unified and uniform guide for Inspection and coding assessment of in-service fiber reinforced polymer/reinforced strengthened concrete (FRP-RSC) bridge elements. Framework will address needs for inspection and coding methods conforming with National Bridge Inspection Standard (NBIS) for both FRP reinforced structures (FRP internal reinforced bars or strands) and FRP strengthened structures (FRP external application).

Innovative Practices to Educate Bridge Engineer Practitioners (HIBS10-GT-001)

  • Creating Practice-Ready Bridge Engineers through Anchored Learning
    • Abstract: This project will produce a practical, adoptable, and validated framework for modifying existing civil engineering curriculum such that core principles are anchored within a contextualized case-study of a bridge analysis and design scenario. 
  • Innovative Practices to Educate Bridge Engineering Practitioners
    • Abstract: The work to be accomplished as part of this project will:
      • Identify gaps in bridge engineering education at both the university and continuing education levels by collecting and synthesizing publicly available data along with data collected from both educational and practitioner surveys.
      • Identify innovative teaching platform(s) and media, both existing and emerging, that can be effectively used to further bridge engineering education in both university and continuing education settings.

Risk-Based Methodology for Structural Evaluation of Bridge-Sized Culverts (HIBS10-LR-001)

  • Risk-Based Methodology for Structural Evaluation of Bridge-Sized Culverts
    • Abstract: This project will develop a general approach to developing risk-adjusted load and resistance factors for rating that are based on the uncertainties of load and resistance specific to culverts and the safety margins consistent with the failure consequences of culverts.

Material Innovations for Steel Bridge Members (HIBS10-SB-001)

  • Assessment of Ultra-High Toughness Steel for Highway Bridges
    • Abstract: This project will investigate the effectiveness of using ultra-high toughness (UHT) bridge steel within steel bridge members as a way to improve the structural reliability for the fracture limit state.

Innovative Detailing and Fabrication for Steel Bridge Members (HIBS10-SB-002)

  • Evaluation of Large-Format Metallic Additive Manufacturing (AM) for Steel Bridge Applications
    • Abstract: This project will improve understanding of metallic wide-arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) for steel bridge and highway structure applications.
  • Improving the Manufacturability of Extended Cut-Out Rib-to-Floor Beam Connections for Orthotropic Steel Decks
    • Abstract: This project will investigate the performance of simplified extended-cutout (EC) rib-to-floor beam (RFB) connection details for orthotropic steel bridge decks.
  • Development of a Simplified Methodology to Assess the Internal Redundancy of Bolted Built-Up Tied Arch Members
    • Abstract: This project will develop simplified methods to accurately assess the internal redundancy of tied arches in the faulted state assuming sudden brittle fracture of one primary component in the cross section and establish rational inspection intervals and strategies for tension ties.
  • Improved Detailing in Steel Bridges to Prevent Constraint-Induced Fracture
    • Abstract: This project will characterize the susceptibility of structural stiffener details in steel bridges to constraint-induced fracture, for cases in which behavior is not yet well-understood, including thick bearing stiffeners, different constraint-relief gap distances between intersecting structural components, and continuous welding at the intersection of the flange-web-connection plate.

Framework and Methodology for Risk-Based Bridge and Tunnel Asset Management (HIBS10-SMH-001)

  • Framework and Methodology for Risk-Based Bridge and Tunnel Asset Management
    • Abstract: The project will develop a comprehensive framework for risk-based asset management considering both regular operations and extreme events, which will cover all relevant events with drastically different frequency characteristics and intensity measures and will integrate the planning of activities for both condition preservation and risk mitigation.

Modeling and Analysis Tools for Risk-Based Bridge and Tunnel Asset Management (HIBS10-SMH-002)

Updated: 06/02/2023
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