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FHWA Resource Center


FEBRUARY 13, 2003


The chairman, Mr Lou Triandafilou, called the meeting to order by welcoming all attendees. All attendees were asked to make self-introductions.

A copy of the committee’s current “Mailing List” was circulated for everyone to review and verify that the information contained on the list was correct and to make corrections as necessary. New attendees were encouraged to add their names and addresses to the list. Also circulated was the “List of Subcommittees” where everyone, especially first-time attendees, was asked if they were not currently serving on a subcommittee, but would be interested in serving, to please add their name and address.

Mr Triandafilou again mentioned that we are lacking chairpersons for the subcommittees on Production/Construction and Design Parameters. He also mentioned the possibility of combining them with other closely related subcommittees.


Mr. Triandafilou asked if there were any additions or deletions to the minutes of the April 4, 2002 meeting held in West Atlantic City, NJ.

A motion was made, seconded and carried to accept the minutes as written.


Mr. Chris Dumas was unable to attend and give his presentation on the International Use of Self-Consolidating Concrete (SCC). In his absence, Mr. Paul Ramsburg of Rotundo Precast, Inc./Oldcastle, Inc. gave an informative presentation on the use of natural pozzolans to enhance the properties of SCC. Some of the highlights of his talk included:

· Use of SCC in precast products is widely expanding in the U.S., while the Europeans are using it more in ready-mix applications. Plants in Baltimore and Manchester, NY have used SCC in prestressed box beams.
VDOT noted that a Bebo arch recently built using SCC had a cleaner appearance than 1 cast with conventional concrete.

· SCC performs well under durability, bond and shrinkage tests, and shows little difference in hardened properties from conventional concrete. Big advantages are with easier and faster placement, less labor and equipment needed.

· 40 out of 70 plants that Oldcastle deals with are using viscosity modifying agents

Since Mr. Ramsburg’s presentation did not address the issue of permeability, Messrs. Triandafilou and Napier requested that he provide any information available regarding these issues. Messrs. Potter and Tucker asked about development length studies (strand pull-out tests) that have been conducted on strands used in SCC. Mr Ramsburg stated that he was not aware of any studies conducted as of yet on development lengths. He stated that this is an area which would require future investigation.

A copy of the First North American Conference on the Design and Use of Self-Consolidating Concrete’s November 12-13, 2002 Conference Proceedings was given to all in attendance.


NCDOT completed a 4-span bridge using 10 ksi HPC in AASHTO Modified bulb-Ts; 1 line of girders was instrumented. (A CD of the project is available). Deck cracking was an issue, mainly in the negative moment areas over the piers, and they are investigating causes. They also completed a 5.2-mile long bridge with 230’ center spans, using over 1800 AASHTO modified beams with 7 - 8 ksi compressive strengths. Only minor deck cracking was evident in the end spans. The State has yet specified the PCEF bulb-t shapes but will investigate their use on future projects.

DelDOT likes the PCEF bulb-T concept, and is still looking for their first application. They have completed 2 bridges that consist of all-HPC elements, plus 1 bridge with a HPC superstructure. They have also constructed HPC deck overlays. They allow lower temperatures for deck placements, and that practice has resulted in little or no deck cracking.

WVDOT has formed an in-house committee to investigate future use of the PCEF bulb-Ts. They have built a limited number of full-depth HPC decks, some overlays and at least 1 superstructure project. They have initiated a research with WVU to evaluate HPC mixes.

MDSHA has 1 project under design using the PCEF bulb-t shapes. They completed their first HPC deck 2-1/2 years ago with excellent results (little or no cracking using fibers and fly ash). They have an upcoming re-decking project of a 110’ span bridge, using lightweight HPC. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement calls for lightweight concrete in the bascule span deck, and used HPC in the mass concrete placements for the V-pier foundations. Lightweight concrete slabs are also being used at the BWI Airport project. The March 3rd MD Concrete Conference was announced (Note: the event was excellent).

NYSDOT stated that they are continuing to design with the New England bulb-Ts (metric units). A hard conversion to English units makes them very similar in shape to the PCEF bulb-t shapes; therefore, Contractor-proposed substitutes are acceptable. They have completed 4 PCEF bulb-T projects using HPC, one using spliced girders. Three more projects are currently under review. Fabrication experiences have been mostly positive, with some end cracking. All cast-in-place decks have been HPC since about 1996. An internal task force is looking into deck cracking issues, while a university is studying creep, shrinkage and thermal properties of HPC mixes. Fourteen bridges have been built with HPC beams, and 25 more are planned this summer. Four precasters have approved HPC mix designs, using 0.32 w/c. 56-day compressive strengths have been required for beams; in some cases these later strengths have been lower than measured 28-day strengths (causes still unknown). Costs of HPC beams have been comparable to conventional beams. DCI corrosion inhibitor and silane is used, along with blended cements.

PennDOT stated that prestressed concrete suppliers wrote to the Department stating they would like to move forward with implementing PCEF bulb-t shapes, holding the 8” web thickness that the state prefers. Schuylkill Products currently has the forms for these shapes, and another supplier is ordering the forms. The State has been using 8 ksi in their beams for about 15 years, with a Penn State study underway to increase strengths. Deck cracking has been a problem on some early projects, but probably not due to the HPC mix. Their 4000 psi deck designs have typically been achieving 9000 psi. The State is considering lowering the specified strength to 3000 psi and placing a 6000 psi upper limit, in order to reduce cracking.

VDOT has incorporated a set of nine PCEF bulb-t shapes as their standard bulb-t shapes for sometime now. Projects in the state where prestressed concrete beams are appropriate will utilize these shapes. One exception would be bridges on a sharp skew, where cracking problems have been noted where thick closure diaphragms frame into beam ends. VDOT has several projects currently underway utilizing the PCEF bulb-t shapes, including some with spliced haunches.

All states are either using or considering the use of high performance concrete (HPC). Several states using HPC in concrete decks expressed problems with deck cracking. It was noted that the Ohio DOT performed a detailed study of several years of deck placements. A definitive result was that decks placed with coarse aggregate containing >1% absorption rate showed little or no cracking. Decks containing aggregates with <1% absorption showed extensive cracking. They plan to revise their mix design specs accordingly. NYSDOT is very interested in this finding, and will investigate their own experiences further.


Mr. Jerry Potter of the FHWA gave an update on the work he is doing with regards to grouting issues for post tensioned concrete bridges. These issues apply to any concrete superstructure with post-tensioned conditions, and not only segmental box girder structures. A handout was distributed.

Mr Potter briefly went over the handout containing information provided by numerous states regarding the condition of tendons in their post-tensioned bridges. Probable causes for tendon corrosion include: use of high bleed grout; poor design details; relaxed inspection oversight; relaxed construction and grouting operations; weak construction specs.

Mr. Potter finished his presentation by discussing continuing actions to help resolve the grouting issues in connection with post-tensioned tendons. Vacuum grouting is considered more effective for small voids, compared to pressure grouting. Also, the flow cone test is considered unnecessary.


A. Materials and QC/QA Subcommittee

It was mentioned that the Guide Specification for QC/QA Manual which had previously been adopted by PCEF Committee member states is ready for publication. A hard copy and a copy on a CD will be provided to each member state.

The next tasks to be undertaken by this subcommittee will be to look into developing a set of regional acceptance program guidelines/specifications for use of self-consolidating concrete, and specifications for grouting materials and operations for spliced girders.

Mr. Triandafilou once again brought up the fact that a chairman is needed for the Production and Construction Subcommittee, to oversee development of regional criteria for such items as prestressed concrete beam plant inspection, beam handling, storage and erection. He also brought up the idea of combining this subcommittee with the Materials and QC/QA Subcommittee. After a short discussion, it was decided to combine both subcommittees into one.

B. Design Parameters and Standardization Subcommittee

Mr. Claude Napier, co-chairman, mentioned that only old business the Standardization subcommittee has remaining is the issue of diaphragms (to include closure diaphragms) as pertaining to their details, spacing and for use on skewed bridges. Mr. Joseph Tucker suggested adding topics for skewing the ends of beams and continuity design.

Mr. Napier stated that this subcommittee will also start looking into developing recommended anchorage details for splice girders, based on NCHRP recommendations. Other possibilities include deck pouring sequences, and any other pertinent topics included in the original PCEF survey.

Now that the Design Parameters subcommittee has been combined with the Standardization subcommittee Mr. Napier stated his committee will also be looking into the issue of debonding of strands to include coming up with a recommended maximum number of debonded strands and any other necessary criteria for the use of debonded strands.

Mr. Napier added that this subcommittee will have the industry respond to the issues of design parameters by setting a priority to the ones developed by the former subcommittee chairman.


At previous meetings, there has been little interest expressed by the member states regarding the PCEF Committee being involved with precast concrete elements. Still keeping this topic on a very informal basis, Mr. Finnerty offered to distribute a survey to the member states, to at least solicit information on their current acceptance criteria for these elements; whether or not they see any benefits in participating in a regional acceptance program for structural precast products, and if not, why not.


The next meeting of the PCEF Committee will be scheduled for sometime in late August/early September of 2003. The exact date and location of this meeting to be determined and announced at a later date.


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