United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration FHWA Home Feedback
   Home   divider  end of menu

Photo:  Multiple bridges

Structures Home
space image
Structures Solutions/Best Practices
space image
Structures Training
space image
Structures Newsletters & Publications
space image
Structures Media Center
space image
Structures Calendar
space image
Structures Links
space image

space image

FHWA Resource Center


Prestressed Concrete Committee for Economic Fabrication (PCEF)

PCEF Meeting Minutes
Carousel Resort Hotel & Condominiums
Ocean City, Maryland
February 9, 2009 1pm to 5:30 pm

Meeting Convened & Introductions made at 1:00 pm

Approval of Minutes from June 2, 2008 Meeting
Minutes Approved – motioned by Bill Via, seconded by Paul Finnerty

Central Atlantic Bridge Associates (CABA) Update- Hank Bonstedt, PCAP
Bridges for life
Non-profit representing Mid-Atlantic beam producers
Inform non-members of activities
Market Communication
Knowledge transfer and education
Develop owner relations
Maintain agency relations
Substitute Bulb Tees in place of other designs (AASHTO girders)
HPC – try to obtain uniformity (too many mix designs & variations)
SSC – try to obtain uniformity (too many mix designs & variations)
Technical Development
Standards for spliced girders
Use PCEF Bulb Tees in place of box beams
Wider top flange will speed up construction
More inspectable than box beams
Double tee does not fit in the plant
Promoting total precast bridge elements & p/c concrete pavements
DOTs want rules for substituting AASHTO Type VI’s & New England bulb-Ts.
Promoting standards for spliced girders

PCI Certification Program Update and State-Specific Options - Dean Frank, PCI
See presentation attached

Erection program currently does not apply to transportation projects; only to building projects.
New Manual-118 is coming for non-prestressed and non-arch members
There are 174 plants nationwide; 28 in the Mid-Atlantic States’ area
Q: Are you taking a step backwards by having each state with their own specifications? Why not just enhance the current bridge category?
A: We provide a baseline specification and each state can add their own requirements. This is an intermediate step. Eventually, we will try to find common ground and unify regionally common requirements.
Q: Are you tracking the Highways for Life (HfL) projects?
A: CABA is tracking the HfL projects. One upcoming is the VA I-66 WB ramp to US 50, using precast slabs

Mid-Atlantic States’ Evaluation of NPCA Prestressed Concrete Certification Program- All State DOT Representatives

Is there any interest in using NPCA for prestressed girders?
MD- used NPCA program for the past 3 to 5 years for precast concrete elements; PCI program currently meets their needs for prestressed concrete members; not looking to change as confusion may result.
DE- does not know
VA- NPCA program used to certify precast concrete elements, but inspection requirements under PCI program are used for prestressed concrete elements. They are evaluating the pros and cons of NPCA for prestressed concrete. PCI offered to supply information about the differences between the 2 programs.
PA- used NPCA for 3 years for precast concrete elements, 5 years for pipe. Have revised their manuals to account for lack of information on grading schedules. Believe that technical assistance and knowledge offered with PCI program surpasses NPCA program.
NJ- materials engineer not present to respond in detail, but aware of use of NPCA program for precast elements.
Newcrete- have not worked with NPCA yet.
Bayshore- member of NPCA for only one project; all information available through PCI is not available with NPCA; PCI staff has extensive knowledge of the industry, and more understanding of the sources and origins of technical information. Bayshore gets as much out of the PCI program as the level of effort expended; believe the prestressed concrete industry will have less advancement if PCI is weakened.
High Concrete- PCI has a lot of advancement; has made some mistakes but gained from that knowledge; get value out of PCI through committee work, benefits related to amount of effort expended with PCI program; plan to stay with PCI.

Design Parameters & Standardization Subcommittee Report – John Martin, VDOT & Claude Napier, FHWA

April or May meeting planned, to cover following topics:
Use of draped vs. debonded strands
Cracking at ends of beams
Bar projection
Closure diaphragms
Lightweight concrete for longer spans
Bulb Tee shape CD – will have comparisons with other beam types
Q: full or half day meeting?
A: could make it two half-days with some travel time built in

Q: Do we want to look at precast deck panels?
A: No, but could start by looking at New England’s information on NEXTEA beams

Presentation on FHWA Strategic Plan for Infrastructure Research & Development -
Lou Triandafilou, FHWA
See presentation attached, service life of bridges beyond 100 years

Q: It all sounds good, but bridges are functionally obsolete long before the bridge life cycle.
A: Researchers struggled with this but the research remains
Comment: Find an alternate to chlorides for de-icing bridge decks

Results of TRB Committee AFN20 Meeting, Properties of Concrete – Lou Triandafilou, FHWA

The committee has sponsored recent sessions at TRB dealing with HPC and materials/inspection of concrete pavements.

Identified research needs areas included aggregate absorption, optimizing concrete mixes, mass concrete in bridge substructures, and developing a standard test to evaluate post-cracking behavior.

Synthesis topics included mix optimization, new test methods, and strength tests.

The committee continues work on a SCC circular guidance document.

The committee recently submitted a tri-ennial strategic plan to TRB leadership. The plan covers such areas as performance evaluation and future goals, technology transfer activities and research needs

Results of 1st PCI GA-Carolinas PCEF Meeting – Peter Finsen, PCI GA/Carolinas

DOTs from the Carolinas and Georgia have formed an economic fabrication committee similar to the Mid-Atlantic States’ PCEF
20-30 people attended the first meeting last August
Broke into subcommittees
Will meet again next week

A lot of PCI certifications with the GA/Carolinas
Meet on a regular basis – start by comparing standards between each state
Modeled after the Mid-Atlantic States PCEF committee
Involvement with FHWA, GA, NC, SC, PCI, Academia
Trying to get industry involvement
Determine goals
Materials Fabrication / Construction
Accelerated Bridge Construction
Regional PCI Certification
Bearing plates
Shapes – spans
Use the AASHTO shape
Noticed duplication of efforts among the 3 states
Look forward to first productive meeting

Q: AASHTO Type III and IV girders are still economical, but AASHTO Type V and VI shapes are not. Why not consider using bulb-T shapes?
A: All 3 states use PCI bulb tee, but efficiency is not critical; considering allowing the PCEF bulb-T as an alternate for full deck sections; they do not see as a priority developing their own standard regional shape. Florida is coming up with their own shape with deck already on top

Q: Camber control may be a problem with full depth girders with deck on top.
A: Longer bridges may be tougher, figure camber into vertical curve, can control camber with more strands, can jack the difference.

Q: What about on heavy skewed bridges?
A: Tilting the beam seats could be the answer.

Materials & Construction QC/QA Subcommittee, Including Future Direction – Bob Horwhat, PADOT & Paul Finnerty, MDSHA

Three major pieces of work have been completed by the group and adopted by the full PCEF:

1. Guide specification for prestressed concrete
2. QC guide documents
3. Guide for SCC

Discussion of future areas to address:
Precast deck sections- no positive feedback
Rapid construction standards
Connections – review soon-to-be-published FHWA Manual and compile
acceptable details for Mid-Atlantic region
Ultra High Performance Concrete
Precast concrete cylinder piles – no good response
Implementation by DOTs
Differences in specifications and expectation of the mix design, minimum
and maximum slump flows
Guide specification developed but not required. MD uses it on design
-build projects
Precast systems – connections
Set of acceptable connections with precast elements
670-page manual on precast concrete elements, including 150 connections
Lightweight concrete – for deck, girders, precast substructures
WV- not used for prestressed girders, but in deck panels
VA- used on Rt. 33 project for longer span prestressed girders and for
bridge deck
DE- used in bridge decks but not in prestressed girders
MD- used in cast-in-place and precast deck panels
NJ- not aware of any use
PA- not in use, change in management could change the future use
Uniformity in making and curing concrete cylinders
Moist cure; steam cure; combination moist/steam; air cure (match-cast)
Different mixes nay not result in uniform testing
Different states have different methods
The 1st manual talked about it, but will send out survey to different states
PCI sets baseline, but state specific PCI requirements should be used
Wants it to be the same so that one mix will meet strength requirement

NCHRP Synthesis Report on Box Beam Connection Details – Lou Triandafilou, FHWA

Discussed the results of a survey completed by Dr. Henry Russell for this study:

1/3 states did not use box beams
1/3 used them as simple spans with CIP decks on top
80% used partial-depth keyways
80% used post-tensioned bars (43% unbonded)
Range of post-tensioning force used was 1 – 13 kips/foot
2/3 noted longitudinal cracking
56% noted water/salt penetration
30% noted reinforcing corrosion
26% noted differential movement between adjacent boxes
Following design/construction recommendations were made in the synthesis:

Form voids with expanded polystyrene geofoam
Use full-depth keyways – easier to sand blast (at plant)
Clean keyways in field before erecting
Use transverse post-tensioning
Use pre-packaged high bonding grout before the p/t operation
Use CIP composite decks and wet cure for 7 days
Pre-packaged grout

Following maintenance recommendations were made:

Seal cracks in deck as soon as possible
Wash decks
Clean drain holes

Future research was recommended in the following areas:

Design (already submitted to NCHRP)

Upcoming Concrete Conferences (VA and MD) – Respective State DOT/FHWA reps

MD 9th annual – March 24th Timonium Crown Plaza
I-35 MN keynote presentation
Redecking of Chesapeake Bay Bridge to be presented in breakout session

VA – March 4th and 5th
WWB interchange
Accelerated bridge construction
Drilled shafts
Accelerated long service life
16 overlays

WV – had one on Jan 7th
CD with presentations is still available

PA- Jan 24 /25
Heavy on pavement

PCI Bridge Conference – September 12-15 in San Antonio

Review of PCEF Adopted Standards by All

3 QA/QC specifications
Steel diaphragms
PCEF Bulb Tees
Use of HPC and corrosion protection

Other Issues

Design requirements for rehabilitating piers, columns, or beams – standards or specifications available for analyzing shoring/temporary works?
DE- case by case
WV- case by case
MD- Middle 3rd, bearing percentage, jacking standards
VA- Not sure – case by case
PA – not present

Adjourned at 5:00 pm

Next meeting is tentatively scheduled for the end of August, possibly at the MD Office of Materials & Testing Lab in Hanover, MD. Preference is to set it up as a webconference in order that non-attendees can view presentations.

FHWA Resource Center logo
yellow circle
staff / phones

Technical Service Teams
Air Quality

Civil Rights

Construction & Project Mgmt


Finance Services




Pavement & Materials


Safety & Design



FHWA Home | Feedback
United States Department of Transportation · Federal Highway Administration