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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / January/February 2010

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-10-010
Date: January/February 2010

A First-Hand Introduction to Accelerated Bridge Construction

With more State departments of transportation turning to accelerated bridge construction (ABC) strategies and techniques to deliver projects faster and with less inconvenience to motorists, a free ABC workshop available from the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Resource Center Structures Technical Service Team offers agencies a national perspective, expert guidance, and first-hand case studies from States that have successfully implemented ABC. The workshop is also supported by FHWA's Office of Bridge Technology and Highways for LIFE program.

States can choose a 1-, 2-, or 3-day format for the workshop. The 1-day workshop includes information on FHWA's framework for selecting ABC projects, cost comparisons between conventional bridge construction and ABC, equipment such as self-propelled modular transporters that can facilitate the use of accelerated strategies, ABC project design, the FHWA Connection Details for Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems manual, and innovative contracting methods. Case studies have also been featured from such States as New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

A view of a rehabilitated bridge on Route 15/29 in Prince William County, VA. The bridge was completed using accelerated bridge construction techniques.Two tractor-trailer trucks haul prefabricated bridge segments to be used in the rehabilitation of a bridge on Route 15/29 in Prince William County, VA.

Projects that have used accelerated bridge construction include the Virginia Department of Transportation's replacement of the superstructure of a bridge on Route 15/29 in Prince William County. At top is the completed bridge. The bridge's superstructure segments were fabricated off site (bottom).

The longer 2- or 3-day workshop may include all or part of the information from the 1-day session, as well as offering the opportunity for participants to discuss a specific project in the host State and visit the project site. Separate breakout groups look at the design and construction of the project and make recommendations for implementing ABC strategies.

One-day seminars have been held in States such as New York and Rhode Island, while Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, and Wisconsin are among those that have hosted project-specific workshops. A 2-day workshop held in Montgomery County, Maryland, in September 2009, for example, looked at a planned rehabilitation of the Cedar Lane Bridge over Rock Creek. Attendees visited the bridge site and then discussed and prioritized recommendations in the areas of construction, innovative contracting, and bridge design.

A structures breakout group provided recommendations on ways to accelerate construction and improve long-term durability, including using:

Additional recommendations for accelerating construction came from the Construction and Innovative Contracting breakout group, including evaluating demolition concepts and methods for removing the existing bridge.

More than 300 participants have attended the various ABC workshops to date. "The response from participants has been very positive," says Lou Triandafilou of the FHWA Resource Center. "Many workshops have already been requested for 2010." Workshops tentatively planned for this year include ones in Arizona, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, and Virginia.

To learn more about scheduling an ABC workshop, contact Claude Napier at the FHWA Resource Center, 804-775-3327 (email: claude.napier@fhwa.dot.gov), or Lou Triandafilou at the FHWA Resource Center, 410-962-3648 (email: lou.triandafilou@fhwa.dot.gov). To download a copy of FHWA's Connection Details for Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems manual (Pub. No. FHWA-IF-09-010) visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/prefab. To obtain a free printed copy of the manual, contact the FHWA Research, Development, and Technology Products Distribution Center, 814-239-1160 (email: Report.Center@dot.gov). The manual features 150 connection details from a range of ABC projects. Also available for downloading at www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/prefab are FHWA's Framework for Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems Decision-Making (Pub. No. FHWA-IF-06-30) and Manual on Use of Self-Propelled Modular Transporters to Remove and Replace Bridges (Pub. No. FHWA-HIF-07-022). To learn more about ABC, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/accelerated/index.cfm. For information on FHWA's Accelerated Construction Technology Transfer program, which has worked with States around the country to host project-specific accelerated construction workshops, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/accelerated.

2010 FHWA Bridge Engineering Conference to Spotlight Accelerated Bridge Construction

More than 150 technical presentations will cover all aspects of bridge construction at the 2010 FHWA Bridge Engineering Conference: Highways for LIFE and Accelerated Bridge Construction. Scheduled for April 8-9, 2010, in Orlando, Florida, the conference is co-sponsored by 19 State departments of transportation. Sessions will cover such topics as prefabricated bridge elements and systems, innovative materials, design for 100-year service life, seismic bridge engineering, nondestructive bridge evaluation methodology and techniques, substructures, and inspection and maintenance. For more information or to register, visit www.2010bridge.com. There is no fee to attend the conference but registration is required. For more information, contact Reggie Holt at FHWA, 202-366-4596 (email: reggie.holt@fhwa.dot.gov).

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Updated: 06/27/2017
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