Our aging infrastructure components are in need of replacement or significant upgrade. Increased traffic, heavier load requirements and corrosion-related deficiencies all contribute to the critical assessment of the bridge inventory. The regular analyses and inspections often result in postings and/or traffic limitations for bridges. It is believed, however, that the current rating process my underestimate the true performance of some of these bridges, causing unwarranted posting or denial of permits associated with these structures. Clearly, there exists a need to re-evaluate the current analysis procedures and supplement them with additional methods and/or experimental analysis.
The objective of the proposed project is to test four bridges in North Carolina, analyze the experimental results, and compare the test data with analytical predictions. Based on this comparison, suggest improvements to the current bridge analysis procedures, and validate them with three additional bridge tests, including one bridge with a glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) bridge deck system. In order to achieve this, seven typical bridges will be selected, instrumented and tested to their service limit (i.e. TRB diagnostic test level). Parallel to these experiments, analysis of these bridges will be conducted using conventional methods currently used by the NCDOT analysis team. Both the AASHTO (1992 and interims) and the North Carolina requirements are considered in the load tests and bridge analyses. The project is being performed in close collaboration with NCDOT engineers and personnel at both divisional and state level. Mr. Henry Black (Maintenance Unit - Analysis Section Squad Leader) and Mr. Garland Haywood (Division 10 Bridge Maintenance Engineer) are graciously assisting in this project. The project will provide valuable information on the correlation between predicted and actual bridge behavior under both controlled truck loading and general traffic conditions