Greater Buffalo International Airport Viaduct


  • The International Concrete Abstracts Portal is an ACI led collaboration with leading technical organizations from within the international concrete industry and offers the most comprehensive collection of published concrete abstracts.

International Concrete Abstracts Portal


Title: Greater Buffalo International Airport Viaduct

Author(s): Richard Ulmer, Aleksandr Zonis and Paul Bradford

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 164


Appears on pages(s): 1171-1186

Keywords: Bearings; earthquake-resistant structures; precast concrete; prestressed concrete; viaducts.

Date: 11/1/1996

The Greater Buffalo International Airport improvement program being planned and constructed by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority includes a new elevated departure viaduct. The overall length of this structure will be 1439 feet consisting of a 14 span main structure of 502'., two approaches at 115' each, and two mechanically stabilized earth embankments at 340' and 367'(Figures 1 and 2). The main span deck is 67' wide which will accommodate two parking lanes, and two traffic lanes designed to AASHTO HS-20 loading criteria and a sidewalk. The deck consists of precast prestressed concrete slab units placed perpendicular to the traffic flow and cantilevered 13' on one end to support the sidewalk. Cast-in-place longitudinal beams support the precast slabs and cast-in-place transverse beams are located at each column to stiffen the structural frame. The longitudinal beams are supported by two rows of columns. Each pair of columns is on a radial alignment approximately 52' apart (Figures 3 and 4). The preliminary analysis with conventional bearings resulted in high seismic forces on the columns and footings due to the very heavy superstructure. In an effort to reduce these forces, isolation bearings were evaluated. These bearings will be required to minimize displacements due to the close proximity of adjacent structures. In addition, the engineers were looking for a device that was a low height design which would function in cold weather. A sliding isolation system was selected with a positive restraint design which restores the structure to its original pre-quake position. This system was developed based on research conducted at the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research located at the State University of New York at Buffalo (NCEER-91-0027). The use of sliding isolation on this structure resulted in significant force reductions while minimizing seismic displacement. The fact that all bearings are engaged in seismic resistance and energy dissipation resulted in mitigating seismic forces to a non-governing level.