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

DelDOT Headquarters
800 Bay Road
Dover Delaware

8:30 Welcome and Introductions

8:35 Web etiquette briefing by Barry Benton, DelDOT

8:40 Lou requested corrections to minutes for the February 10, 2009 meeting. No corrections made. Bill Via moved to accept; motion was seconded and the minutes were approved as sent out.

8:45 Bolting Subcommittee Report by Joe Bracken, PennDOT

Joe reported that nothing has been done since last meeting. Lou provided input for the committee to work on a High Strength Bolt guidance document, which would be a compilation of best practices from the AASHTO/NSBA Steel Bridge Collaboration training document, the former FHWA training course instructed by Gerald Schroeder, and other items from the Research Council on Structural Connections. The document would be used for training bolt inspectors.

Joe mentioned that Skidmore procedures will be added as an appendix to the document, and that it will also include material information, inspector responsibilities, additional inspection forms and information on equipment calibration requirements. Claude asked that erection plan information, coordination with contractors, installation procedures and rotational capacity testing also be included. Jamie asked if re-lubrication of bolts would be covered. Joe stated that the Skidmore test leaves it up to the owner to decide whether to allow re-lubrication. The problem is how to make sure lubrication is uniform and making sure the DOT is comfortable with the re-lubrication procedures. It was generally agreed that lubrication should be addressed in the manual. Claude added that bolts should be retested periodically to check lubrication.

Joe indicated that a draft of the document should be ready for subcommittee review by the end of September 2009.

Action Item #1- The Subcommittee will finalize the document in time for balloting at the next SCEF meeting, to be held in August 2010.

8:55 Update on AISC Component Certification and Fabricator Certification Programs by Lou Triandafilou, FHWA

Lou reported that the Component Certification Program was completed by a task group, passed through the Certification Committee, and approved by the AISC Board of Directors for national distribution back in January 2009. It is posted on the AISC website and agencies could start specifying it immediately. He asked if anyone was using this certification program. VA DOT- Bill stated that they have made suppliers of ancillary structures aware of it, but have not yet developed a timeline for full implementation. MDSHA, NJDOT, DCDOT and DelDOT were not sure if they were specifying it yet. PennDOT -- Bob stated that they intended to incorporate the program with some modifications and that they will soon draft a letter to their suppliers, notifying them of their intentions. He indicated that there did not seem to be any special certification for aluminum structures and that they will request clarification from AISC on this matter. WVDOT is looking into using the program for smaller shops, after they have had the opportunity to evaluate it. VaDOT -- Bill stated they have not yet thought about aluminum poles.

Lou stated that the document is for metal sign structures and poles and that these items are listed so aluminum would be addressed by the document. PennDot -- Joe Bracken stated that metals did include aluminum but that different welding codes are used for steel and aluminum. The certification program was the same for both types of metals and it was assumed that AISC would also check aluminum components. Lou stated that there is a need to check with AISC and that maybe an aluminum supplement is required. The use of the program for pedestrian bridges was still an unsettled question.

Fabricator Certification Program -- Lou called on Bill to report on the progress of a program update. Bill and Russ are on the task group to draft a revised program. Bill reported that Heather Gilmer from Texas DOT completed a first draft of a new program, which included the quality management concepts contained in the new component certification program. September 8th is the deadline for task group members to submit their first draft review comments and a finalized program may be approved by the end of next year. The program will address fracture critical components and major/unusual bridges. Bill also stated that the AISC is on board with the format of the document and they will have a document to review by the beginning of the year. The Bridge standard will be similar to current building standard so it should not be a big change for fabrication shops.

9:10 Structural Coatings Subcommittee Report - Discussion on Future Direction by Bruce Nelson, MdSHA

Bruce Nelson was not present so no discussion was held. Lou T. inquired into the issue of a common qualification program. Russ indicated that it is being worked on and that SSPC and AISC are negotiating their differences between indoor and outdoor painting.

9:12 Bearings Subcommittee Report, AASHTO T-2 Discussions by Patti Kiehl, PennDOT

Patti Kiehl was not present but she provided Lou with notes that were read at the meeting and will be included in the minutes.

9:17 Ancillary Structures Subcommittee Report and Ballot Item by Karl Larson, VaDOT

Karl made two PowerPoint presentations which will be included as attachments to these minutes. After the presentations, Karl motioned to accept the ballot item for the mast arm connections sent out prior to the SCEF meeting. Since not many members present were prepared to vote on the ballot item, no vote was held. Bob from PennDot asked when Karl needed their comments on the ballot. Lou indicated that he will send out a written ballot on which the states could indicate if they accept/accept with modifications/or reject the choices provided. Lou then read out the names of those to whom he would send the ballots. Ballots will be sent out by September 1st and reviewers will have one month to respond. Non responses would be considered an indication of approval.

Concerning Karls presentation, it was asked if the failures presented were categorized. Karl answered that no attempt was made to determine the cause of the failures, although for high mast structures and other weathering steel poles there was a lot of corrosion at the base of the structures. Bill asked if the report addressed high mast structures. Karl responded that it did not since high mast structures were covered by another survey and inspection, and as a result, many poles had been taken down because of weathering steel corrosion or slip joint cracks.


Ronnie indicated that corrosion was more advanced if steel was in contact with the ground, and he suggested that structures be supported on pedestals about two feet out of the ground. For larger structures, drilled shaft supports could be extended. Karl indicated that changing drainage patterns were a concern at the Hampton Roads project, and that another problem was caused by poles filling up with water. Ronnie suggested having drainage holes in the base plate and putting a space under the pole. He also suggested not using a grout pad under the pole. Lou stated that it was a good point about the concrete pad but asked if there were any safety issues with this. Ronnie stated that he would need to check. Dan indicated that Md SHA requires their sign and light structures to be placed out of the ground. Karl stated that VDOT also requires their foundations to extend out of the ground. Hannah indicated that NJDOT has some problems with moisture but that they experience a lot of problems at slip joints, which they still use. The entire issue of drainage considerations was suggested as a future item for the subcommittee to explore, including looking at TxDOT practices.

Jamie stated that a recent TRB newsletter announced a NCHRP proposal with a 3-year completion date for new LRFD specifications for ancillary structures, and questioned whether this would affect any SCEF-developed details. Karl stated that it should have no effect at this time. Hannah stated that the next generation of specification will be based on FHWAs emphasis that LRFD be used for all structures under design by 2010. She indicated that it will be in three parts: design, construction (bolting and welding), and inspection and maintenance. The call for proposals is now with a 2010 anticipated start date. Hannah and Julius Volgyi of VA DOT are members of the NCHRP panel that will oversee the project.

Action Item #2 -- The subcommittee will take up the issues associated with drainage at ancillary structure supports, and report on their progress at the next SCEF meeting.

Action Item #3 -- Ballots on the details presented at the meeting were requested from each State DOT and DC DOT by October 1st.

10:00 -- 10:15 Break

10:15 Lou introduced Mark Clabaugh of the DC DOT to discuss the on-going 14th Street bridge project, as follow-up to the earlier discussion on AISC certification programs. Mark explained the scope of the project was to retrofit the bascule span by post tensioning the girders and to address other issues concerning the span. During the course of the project, certification of suppliers and fabricators became an issue.
DC requires AISC certification; however, certain items for the project have been supplied by non-certified fabricators who are in the process of becoming certified. Mark asked if anyone else had encountered similar problems. Bill Via stated that this was common in VA, where project needs are considered to be paramount to certification. If non-certified products are purchased, they are not always rejected. First, the State will determine the status of an on-going audit, then document that the products meet the project specification requirements. If non-AISC certification is established early in the project, then it is easier to address. Mark stated that DC does this as well.

PennDOT stated that they are at the opposite end of the spectrum. They have a directive, Bulletin 15, that lists approved fabricators and machine shops. This helps prevent Contractors from using non-certified producers. Bill stated that this would help VaDOTs project oversight compared to the current practice of checking items after the fact. Md SHA has a Qualified/Approved Products List for products and fabricators. Bill stated that they. DelDOT has inspectors at the site check items and George Hanna stated he does not know what WVDOT would do in the same situation since it has not come up before. Marked confirmed that the non-certified fabricated steel was the post tensioning steel brackets.

10:30 SCEF Welder Certification Program Ballot by Bruce Abernathy, MdSHA

Bruce Abernathy was not present and Bill provided a report in his absence. He stated that AWS was interested in the SCEF DOTs efforts with developing field welder certification. AWS is proposing that welders have a certification passport that is good throughout the US. Bill was not sure of the status of their proposal. Hannah asked if the ballot item was sent out just to the committee members. Lou stated that the ballot item has not yet been sent out and that it is still being developed by Bruce.

Action Item #4 -- Ballots on certifying the various welding processes will be prepared in time for voting at the next SCEF meeting.

10:35 AISI Modular Steel Bridge Workshop Update by Lou Triandafilou, FHWA

Lou gave a presentation on a recent meeting of the AISI Steel Bridge Task Force. This included meetings of the Design Advisory Group (DAG) for high performance steel, the AASHTO T-14 steel bridge design technical committee, and the modular steel bridge workshop. He urged members to keep prefabricated, modular steel bridges in the forefront, especially for substructure elements.

The DAG covered such topics as tubular steel members; an upcoming University of Texas-Austin load test to failure of a decommissioned twin steel tub girder superstructure; and a TxDOT curved steel girder study. The modular steel bridge workshop covered a status update on the following action items: Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance (Mike Engestrom, Nucor Yamato Steel, website address -- www.shortspansteelbridges.org); steel pile bent pier systems; marketing plan for DOT upper management; cost analysis for orthotropic steel deck systems; short span steel design aids (Dr. Karl Barth of West Virginia University); steel sheet pile cellular substructure.

10:40 FHWA Orthotropic Deck Study by Dr. Brian Kozy, HDR Engineering, Inc

Dr. Kozy gave a presentation on orthotropic decks which is included with these minutes. After the presentation, the following information was provided in response to the many questions that were asked:

• There have not been any orthotropic decks fabricated recently in the U.S.; however, there is an inventory of about 100 nationwide and thousands overseas.
• There had not been any problems in the areas of life-cycle costs, long-term rehabilitation, painting and inspection, fatigue and weld inspection. Brian mentioned the Fremont bridge deck as an example of how an orthotropic deck can provide an economical solution. It was built in the 1970s and the paint is still in good condition.
• Usually a thin epoxy surface or a 2-3 epoxy asphalt is used as a wearing surface.
• 7/16 thick deck plates had been used in the past, but now 5/8 or 3/4 is used. The Fremont Bridge used 7/16.
• Depth of a short span superstructure had not yet been designed, however, it is expected that it would be around 16.
• Usually a steel barrier is used and the deck would have extra stiffening to support the barrier. These details are not yet developed. The steel barrier has been tested and approved but the connections to the deck have not been tested.
• Japan has a lot of experience with orthotropic decks and they recognize that fabrication is an issue along with quality of welds. Japan has the problem that different companies have different quality standards. Performance of these decks depends on the fabrication; cracks can occur. Construction specifications for these decks are fairly well developed.
• Although Brian was not addressing AISC certification issues, he suggested that major steel bridge certification would be appropriate.
• Oregon Ironworks is interested in these decks and they have done a research project. High Steel Structures (HSS) is also interested, and bid 2 recent projects.
• Fatigue performance of these decks has improved lately. Small projects can be designed with heavier plates but larger projects usually need a lighter deck.
• HSS can develop shallow section decks to suit owners needs. In the past they met the major bridge certification for fabrication but for the small short span projects this might not be needed.
• Barry stated that DelDOT has a need for replacing 30 to 40 spans. Maybe shallow section decks could be used for these short spans.
• HDR and HSS are developing a FHWA Highways for LIFE project proposal on orthotropic decks and they are interested in working with local DOTs. DelDOT will look into this possibility.
• Laboratory testing was considered a success on the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge project, however, fabrication problems caused cracking. These decks have a lot of welds and there is always a possibility that some of them will fail.
• Brian is working on relaxing the penetration requirements to a minimum of 60% or 70%, although the practicality of checking weld penetration was questioned. Welds could be prescribed with 80% penetration with no melt thru and no burn thru, with a tolerance of +/- 15%.
• HSS shop welders have stated that good quality weld results could be achieved using 3/32 wire, 450 Amp, submerged arc without a bevel. The Carquinez Bridge used a non bevel weld with 5/32 wire which proved to be too large and caused cracks. Another problem is that constant penetration cannot be achieved and therefore UT needs to be run on welds for QC/QA. Phased array testing was done on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge with good results. A suggestion was made for increasing weld size in order to eliminate the need for a lot of testing. Flexibility of these decks is also considered a cause of weld cracking.
• A suggestion was made for a presentation at the next meeting by HSS on testing rib-to-deck welds.
• Lou indicated that a demonstration project for these decks is desired. Hannah indicated that NJDOT has a lift bridge currently under design that could be used as a demonstration project. She indicated that Brian was aware of the project and has been involved in its development.

Action Item #5 -- HSS develop and give a presentation on rib-to-deck weld testing at the next SCEF meeting.

Action Item #6 -- Each State DOT and the DC DOT evaluate the potential implementation of an orthotropic deck demonstration project, and report their results at the next SCEF meeting.

11:30 Design Detailing Subcommittee Report by Ronnie Medlock, High Steel Structures, Inc

Ronnie reported that the subcommittee has not been active and they do not currently have a list of things to accomplish. He inquired as to what the SCEF committee members needed; i.e. accelerated bridge details, shallow bridge details, short bridge spans. He again suggested that he could give a presentation on orthotropic decks. Lou stated that the subcommittee member listing had just been updated and that Ronnie should start with suggestions from those individuals. He suggested that Ronnie convene the subcommittee sometime before the next SCEF meeting.

Action Item #7 -- Each State DOT and the DC DOT discuss in-house a list of needs that this subcommittee can address, and provide our office with the results of the assessment by March 1, 2010.

11:35 Standard Diaphragm Details for Curved Girder Bridges by Jeff Hill, VaDOT

Jeff Hill was not present and no report was made. Lou indicated that this item falls under the Design Detailing Subcommittee.

Action Item #8 -- Details be developed and distributed in time for discussion at the next SCEF meeting.

11:36 FHWA Connection Details Manual for Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) by Michael Culmo, CME Associates

Lou indicated that the Details manual had been published in June and it is available on-line at the FHWA Highways for LIFE website. Mike gave a PowerPoint presentation on ABC which is included as part of these minutes.

11:55 Schematic Design of an ABC Project by Michael Culmo, CME Associates

Mike gave a PowerPoint presentation on ABC which is included as part of these minutes. After the presentation, Mike indicated that there is currently movement in the industry on the discussion of steel prefabrication for bridges.
Items being discussed are orthotropic decks, double T-beams, and steel piers, similar to what was used for the Newark Airport project. The advantage of using steel is that it is lighter and easier to move and assemble than concrete.

PennDOT asked if a mechanical coupler was used to connect the concrete pier components. Mike indicated that there was no mechanical coupler used other than the steel sleeve that was cast into the components and grout. This creates a type 1 connection in which the bar fails before the connection. Tests in Japan indicate that this connection is also good for seismic loads. PennDOT also asked about the profile of the connection sleeve. Mike indicated that it was a pipe which would be a different size for each type of connection. Claude asked if the base cover had to be achieved over the coupler or just to the rebar. Mike replied that cover had to be achieved over the coupler, so this would require the reinforcing bars to be moved inward. He indicated that the Utah DOT has a lot of details for this type of connection on their website.

12:30 Expansion Joint Subcommittee Report and Ballot Item by Marv Blimline, MdSHA

Marv Blimline was not present but Dan Beck presented the SCEF finger joint details for balloting by the SCEF committee. No one was prepared to vote on the ballot item at the meeting. Lou indicated that this ballot item will also be mailed along with the one for ancillary structures. It will be sent out by September 1st with a deadline for responses of October 1st; no response will be considered an indication of approval. Hannah asked what happens if the details are approved. Lou indicated they would then be considered adopted by the SCEF committee as a standard detail that the states could then use on appropriate projects. They would be added to the next update of the SCEF book of standards. As with other SCEF-adopted details/procedures, these details would be considered as best practices and guidance for the States to consider, and not mandatory.

12:40 Review of SCEF Adopted Standards by Lou Triandafilou, FHWA

Lou reported that he was planning on assembling a CD of the SCEF standard details for distribution to the committee and to other States nationally, along with possible posting on a website.

12:45 Upcoming Steel Conferences

AWS Welding Committee Meetings -- Philadelphia, PA, September 22-25, 2009
D1.1 Meeting -- September 22; D1.5 Meeting -- September 23

New England State Materials Engineers Association Meeting, Portland, ME, 2nd week of October, 2009

World Bridge Symposium -- San Antonio, TX -- November 17-19, 2009
AASTHO/NSBA Steel Bridge Collaboration meeting will be held during conference.

TRB Meeting, Washington, D.C., January 10-14, 2010

Mid-Atlantic States Quality Assurance Workshop -- Washington, DC -- February 8-10, 2010

FHWA Bridge Engineering Conference-Accelerated Bridge Construction & Highways for LIFE -- Orlando, FL, April 7-9, 2010

International Bridge Conference -- Pittsburgh, PA, June 7-9, 2010

7th TRB International Bridge Conference -- San Antonio, TX -- December 1-3, 2010

12:55 Other Issues by Lou Triandafilou, FHWA

Lou brought up the issue of reusing old steel I- beams in new bridge structures. He asked if anyone was doing this or if anyone had any specifications for this. He also inquired if anyone was aware of local agencies doing this. Lou brought up the example of a current project that involved a 6-lane, mile-long bridge that reused old beams. Ronnie indicated that he believes that a lot of this goes on but that it is not reported, especially on low traffic volume and remote bridges. The only specific example was given by John Stratton of Structural Steel Products, who stated that the City of Roanoke had done this on a pedestrian bridge. Karl indicated that Virginia has standard bridges that use rolled beams and a timber deck where this could be done.

1:00 Adjourn

Next meeting was tentatively set for the week of August 23, 2010; most likely the 25th. Lou asked if anyone was interested in hosting the meeting, which would preferably include webconferencing capabilities. All that is needed is a phone line and internet access. MD and VA are likely locations. Lou will send out an announcement once a decision is made.

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