Title: Development of a New Short-Span Bridge System — A Comprehensive Approach
Author(s): Tevfik Terzioglu, Dongqi Jiang, Mary Beth D. Hueste, and John B. Mander
Publication: Symposium Paper
Appears on pages(s): 137-158
Keywords: precast prestressed concrete, bridge girders, spread slab beams, live load distribution factors
A new bridge system was recently developed for short span bridges in low clearance areas. This system uses the same concept as spread box beam bridges in which standard TxDOT precast prestressed slab beams are spaced apart. The deck is composed of stay-in-place precast concrete panels spanning between beams with a cast-in-place reinforced concrete deck. This paper presents a comprehensive approach for the investigation and development of this alternative spread slab beam bridge system including design, construction, field testing, modeling, and derivation of live load distribution factors (LLDFs). A parametric design study was conducted to evaluate the potential bridge spans when considering the four standard TxDOT slab beam types, a range of beam spacings, and potential bridge widths. One of the challenging geometries with widely spaced slab beams was constructed at full-scale to assess constructability and in-service behavior. The full-scale test bridge and a recently constructed on-system bridge with more closely spaced slab beams were tested under static and dynamic truck loads to obtain important insight into their structural performance and live load distribution behavior, while also providing data to guide analytical and computational modeling studies. Finite element models were developed to investigate an array of possible bridge geometries and determine the effect of key parameters on the load sharing behavior. Based on the research findings, it was concluded that spread slab beam bridges with a topped panelized deck provide a viable construction method for short-span bridges. For both tested bridges, the desired performance was achieved for in-service loading. Experimental and computational LLDFs were evaluated, and LLDF equations for spread box beams were reviewed for applicability to spread slab beam bridges. The AASHTO LRFD spread box beam LLDFs range from being unconservative to very conservative. Unique moment and shear LLDFs were developed for use in design of spread slab beam bridges.