2007 ABC Workshop Follow up
The general consensus was that opportunities exist covering a wide spectrum of technologies to employ ABC in regions susceptible to moderate-to-high seismic zones. Some ideas were considered ready for deployment, while others simply required synthesis to document the state-of-the-art. Finally, a number of research opportunities were suggested to advance promising ideas to the point of deployment. Showcase applications funded in part by FHWA were considered an important component in gaining widespread acceptance and ultimately widespread application of various technologies.
The follow-up meetings at TRB will be crucial to the continued advancement of the ideas brainstormed at this workshop. It is expected that those ideas receiving the highest priority during this workshop, and which were identified as requiring research to advance the concept, will be discussed further and research proposals developed at the TRB meetings. For example, the connection between columns and foundations (idea F1/F2) was the highest priority from this workshop (reference Appendix E). Research needs were identified beginning with a synthesis, followed by additional studies identified upon completion of the synthesis. The identified goal of this research is a simple, robust, economical, and inspectable detail for the column to foundation connection.
A final thought not entertained in the workshop, but discussed among members of the Steering Committee afterwards is the need for a synthesis study to gather information on the state-of-the-practice in superstructure to abutment connections for seismic regions. California has developed several details, which are not widely known or employed beyond the state limits.
It is important to share the developing knowledge in this arena with peers in academia, industry and DOTs. A recognized key to implementing ABC is to work with industry groups to garner agreement on the most promising connection details, and to develop standardized prefabricated components and cross-sections that industry will support. Research needs should derive from industry focus groups to ensure successful deployment. Bill Duguay succinctly stated in his morning presentation that successful deployment requires efficient design. Simplicity of design and specifications factor heavily into motivation; risk assignment must be equitably shared such that the contracting industry will bid on projects stipulating specific connections. Simplicity of design leads to lower costs and higher quality. Repeatability, durability, reliability, adaptability, survivability and profitability are all key elements that must be factored in the development of new connection details. Careful consideration of these will lead to the development of concepts that will prove successful in application. All available vehicles to accomplish this goal should be explored, including a TRB "E-circular" and presentations at various events. As this will remain an on-going effort for some time, periodic updates will be necessary.