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Construction and monitoring of

a single-span bridge with

precast concrete glass-fiber-
reinforced polymer reinforced
deck panels

Chris P. Pantelides, Jim Ries, and Rebecca Nix

recast concrete panels are well suited for the con-
struction of bridge decks. When bridge decks do not
perform as expected, it may be because of connec-
tions between the slab and supporting system, configura-
tion of joints between adjacent precast concrete panels,
construction procedures, lack of longitudinal posttensioning,
and/or materials used.1 A full-depth precast, prestressed
concrete bridge deck system investigated by Yamane et al.2
that incorporates transverse posttensioning is an alternative
to the traditional reinforced precast concrete panel system.
Because of transverse posttensioning, the panels can achieve
a smaller slab thickness, better crack control, and better
handling characteristics. In addition, more watertight joints
can be achieved between the panels.
■  The Beaver Creek Bridge in Utah was constructed in 2009
using precast concrete deck panels reinforced with glass-fiber- Since 1980, several bridges have been constructed using
reinforced polymer (GFRP) bars. fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite materials as
internal reinforcement.3 Prestressed reinforcement is com-
■  The connections between precast concrete deck panels and monly made of carbon FRP materials, and nonprestressed
prestressed concrete girders demonstrated good composite reinforcement is made of glass-fiber-reinforced polymer
action, and the live load deflections of the prestressed concrete (GFRP) materials. The physical, mechanical, fatigue, and
girders during static load testing were within allowable limits. durability properties of GFRP bars have been investigated.4
In one of those investigations, GFRP bars were first loaded
■  Strains during lifting and in the load tests indicate that the ACI at 20% to 80% of the ultimate tensile strength.5 Moisture
440 flexural design method for GFRP reinforced concrete decks absorption and tensile properties of the bars were mea-
can be applied to precast concrete panels, provided that lifting sured. The results showed that even a tensile stress of 80%
and handling stresses are properly designed for. of the ultimate tensile strength did not have a dramatic

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effect on their durability. The fatigue response of concrete 88 ft 10 in. (27.1 m) (Fig. 1). The bridge was constructed
decks reinforced with FRP bars is critical for the durability in two phases (Fig. 1). This required a closure strip
of this type of structure.6 Deck deflections were used as a between the eastbound and westbound lanes. The girders
measure of overall deck degradation during fatigue in that were AASHTO Type IV sections (Fig. 1). Two intermedi-
study, and the rate of degradation was comparable to decks ate diaphragms were provided at the third points of the
reinforced with steel bars. span that were composed of A36 (250 MPa) W18 × 46
(W460 × 68) structural steel sections. The deck was con-
Design concepts, construction details, and results of live structed using 44 ft 5 in. × 6 ft 10 in. × 91/4 in. (13.4 m ×
load field tests for cast-in-place concrete bridge decks rein- 2.08 m × 0.23 m) precast concrete panels for the eastbound
forced with GFRP bars have been presented.7,8 However, to lanes and 41 ft 5 in. (12.6 m) × 6 ft 10 in. × 91/4 in. precast
the knowledge of the authors there is no research regard- concrete panels for the westbound lanes. Both panel types
ing bridge decks constructed using precast concrete panels were reinforced with GFRP bars. To the authors’ knowl-
reinforced with GFRP bars. edge, these are the largest precast concrete bridge deck
panels constructed with GFRP bars to date. The design of
The goal of the present research was to investigate the the deck panels used ACI 440.1R-06 guidelines and was
performance and economics of using a newer, more controlled by crack width and deflection. The relatively
expensive technology for bridge decks that has potential low modulus of elasticity of GFRP bars leads to wider
savings in terms of life cycle costs. Methods for extending crack widths than with traditional steel reinforcement. Ac-
bridge deck life in Utah are being researched to extend the ceptable crack width tolerances can be relaxed somewhat
deck’s service life to better match that of the entire bridge. with GFRP bars due to their noncorrosive nature, but wider
Currently, Utah bridges are designed for a 75-year life, but cracks can reduce aggregate interlock and shear capacity
the decks often require replacement after 45 years. Deck due to loss of shear friction. GFRP-reinforced panels also
replacement increases the life-cycle cost of the structure exhibit higher deflections than steel reinforced panels be-
and adds to user delays. GFRP bars were evaluated as an cause of the lower modulus of elasticity of GFRP compared
alternative to steel reinforcement in bridge decks. GFRP with steel.
reinforcing bars were used for the deck of the Beaver
Creek Bridge on US Route 6 in rural Utah. The bridge Due to these limitations, several adjustments were made
is a single-span creek crossing with access for wildlife to the structural design. The first adjustment was to the
passage. The girders were American Association of State bar spacing. In the transverse direction the spacing was
Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Type IV reduced from 8 in. (200 mm) to 4 in. (100 mm) (Fig. 2).
prestressed concrete sections.9 The full-depth deck panels It was not practical to reduce the spacing any further, so
were designed in accordance with the American Concrete alternative methods for decreasing crack width and deflec-
Institute’s (ACI’s) 440.1R-06 Guide for the Design and tion were used. A balance between thickening the deck
Construction of Structural Concrete Reinforced with FRP and decreasing the girder spacing was used. The deck was
Bars10 with some modifications specific to the lifting and increased from the standard 83/4 in. (220 mm) thickness
handling of the precast concrete panels. The deck was con- to 91/4 in. (230 mm). To satisfy deflection requirements,
structed using precast concrete panels lightly posttensioned girder spacing was decreased from 9 ft 4 in. (2.8 m) to
in the longitudinal direction. Accelerated bridge construc- 7 ft 7 in. (2.3 m), increasing the number of girders by
tion is being actively pursued in Utah for new bridges. two. Some additional GFRP bars (S1 and S2 in Fig. 2) at
the panel edges were used to maintain the rigidity of the
The research described in this paper had two major phases: panels during lifting.
preconstruction and in-place truck load testing. Two
GFRP-reinforced precast concrete panels were monitored To reduce construction time and traffic disruptions, the
during construction, lifting, placement, posttensioning, and bridge was constructed using precast concrete deck panels.
truck load testing using electrical strain gauges and vibrat- The panels were lightly posttensioned with 11 grouted
ing wire strain gauges. The deflections of the bridge deck tendons to secure tightness of the joints between precast
relative to the two diaphragms connecting the prestressed concrete panels by promoting composite action (Fig. 3).
concrete girders were monitored using linear variable Each tendon comprised three 0.6 in. (15 mm) Grade 270
differential transducers (LVDTs). Finally, the absolute de- (1860 MPa) low-relaxation steel strands. (There was no
flections of the girders at midspan during static truck load GFRP alternative.) The GFRP reinforcement posed ad-
testing were monitored using surveying equipment. ditional challenges during placement. Typical deck panels
are moved and placed using embedded anchors. This was
GFRP-reinforced not practical with the GFRP reinforced panels because of
precast concrete panels the low shear strength of the bars. The panels had to be
lifted with straps wrapping around and under the panels,
The overall span length of the Beaver Creek Bridge and detailed in accordance with the PCI Design Hand-
is 88 ft 2 in. (26.9 m), with an out-to-out width of book: Precast and Prestressed Concrete.11

PCI Journal | Wi n t e r 2013 79

88 ft 2 in.
82 ft
N 12 Precast concrete panels 3 ft 1 in. typical

41 ft 5 in.


Beam centerline

3 ft Closure strip
44 ft 5 in.

Parapet typical Precast concrete

4 ft 2 in. Closure strip panel typical
Abutment 1 centerline Abutment 2 centerline

Panel layout plan

88 ft 10 in. out to out deck

44 ft 5 in. 44 ft 5 in.

12 ft 12 ft 12 ft 14 ft 12 ft 12 ft 12 ft
Shoulder Lane LaneMedian Lane Lane Shoulder
1 ft 5 in. Centerline US-6
91/4 in. GFRP deck panel -2%

2 ft 81/2 in. 5 spaces at 7 ft. 7 in. = 37 ft 11 in. 5 spaces at 7 ft.7 in. = 37 ft 11 in. 2 ft 81/2 in.
prestressed concrete girders 3 ft 91/2 in. 3 ft 91/2 in. prestressed concrete girders
Cross section

44 ft 5 in. 44 ft 5 in.
Phase II construction Phase II traffic
Shoulder Shoulder
6 ft 8 in. 12 ft 12 ft 6 ft 8 in.
New 3 ft 8 in. Lane Lane
parapet 3 ft 2 ft
New deck Closure strip

AASHTO Centerline US-6

type IV
Construction sequence and layout

Figure 1. Beaver Creek Bridge on US Route 6. Note: GFRP = glass-fiber-reinforced polymer. 1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 ft = 0.305 m.

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41 ft 5 in.

1 ft 3 in.
3 ft 91/2 in. 2 ft 81/4 in.

centerline centerline
93/4 in. Shear stud Post tensioning
blockout blockout

26 in. 26 in.
6 ft 10 in.

of traffic

Beam centerline
Beam centerline
1 ft 3 in.

Extend GFRP bars

for closure strip



S5 Top 42 no.5 at 12 in.

S6 Bottom 100 no.5 at 5 in.

Top S3 17 no.5 at 4 in.

Bottom S4 17 no.5 at 4 in.
Top S1 4 no.5 at 21/2 in. 4 no.5 at 21/2 in. Top
Bottom S2 4 no.5 at 21/2 in. 4 no.5 at 2 /2 in.

S2 Bottom
13/4 in.

S5 1/
2 2 in.
21/2 in.
91/4 in.

Shear stud
1 in.

Joint centerline S6 Joint centerline


Section A-A

Figure 2. Plan and GFRP reinforcement of precast concrete panels for westbound lanes of Beaver Creek Bridge on US Route 6. Note: GFRP = glass-fiber-reinforced
polymer. No. 5 = 16M; 1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 ft = 0.305 m.

The low shear strength also affected the posttensioning an- tion (Fig. 1). Traditionally, the steel bars have been bent
chors because GFRP bars could not provide adequate shear to avoid conflicts during placement and posttensioning.
strength. Some galvanized steel bars were placed on the GFRP bars cannot be bent, making placement and post-
end panels for anchorage of posttensioning. Bars extend tensioning operations more difficult. A few GFRP bars had
from the panels into closure strips at the abutments and to be cut during placement. New GFRP bars were drilled
along the centerline of the bridge to tie the approach slabs in and secured with epoxy at the locations where bars were
in, as well as to connect the two phases of bridge construc- cut. GFRP bars were used for all deck closure strips.

PCI Journal | Wi n t e r 2013 81

4 1/2 in.
Posttensioning tendon
centerline GFRP bar

9 1/4 in.


3 ft 9 1/2 in.
Posttensioning tendon centerline Posttensioning tendon centerline

9 1/4 in. panel

6 in.

12 in. maximum AASHTO type IV

Section A-A

Figure 3. Posttensioning tendon details at an end panel. Note: GFRP = glass-fiber-reinforced polymer. 1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 ft = 0.305 m

The precast concrete deck panels were designed to act Instrumentation

compositely with the girders, requiring the deck panels of precast concrete panels
to be connected to the girders through shear connectors.
Figure 4 shows the shear stud blockout plan and shear stud In the summer of 2009, construction began on the Beaver
plate and section details. The posttensioning of the tendons Creek Bridge, located approximately 20 mi (32 km) north
for the panels and grouting of the ducts were completed of Price, Utah, on US Route 6. GFRP bars offer many
before placement of the shear studs and grouting of the advantages over traditional steel bars, including increased
shear stud blockouts. tensile strength, reduced unit weight, and corrosion resis-
tance. The preconstruction phase focused on instrumenta-
Research methods tion and monitoring of two precast concrete deck panels.
End panel EP3 and center panel P2 were instrumented
Material properties because of their location in the westbound lanes (Fig. 1).

The specified design strength for the precast concrete Monitoring during this phase was conducted to quantify
panels was 4000 psi (28 MPa); the 28-day compres- the effects of lifting, transportation, and handling on the
sive strength was 6200 psi (43 MPa). The specified deck panels. This type of monitoring is conducted to better
design strength for the prestressed concrete girders was understand the behavior of deck panels, even for steel-
6000 psi (41 MPa); at 80 days the compressive strength reinforced precast concrete panels.12 Monitoring included
was 10,000 psi (69 MPa). The prestressing reinforcement the initial lift from the formwork, the lift from the casting
was Grade 270 (1860 MPa) low-relaxation steel strands. yard to the truck, transit of the panel to the bridge, the final
The GFRP bars used for construction were no. 5 (16M) lift placing the panel on the bridge, and the posttension-
bars. The specified tensile strength of the GFRP bars was ing. Each panel was instrumented with 28 electrical strain
104 ksi (717 MPa), and the modulus of elasticity was gauges to be used during lifting and transportation. These
6280 ksi (43 GPa). gauges were attached to both the top and bottom GFRP

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9 1/4 in.
4 in.
Shear 5 in.
A A stud 2 1/2 in.

Precast concrete
12 in.

11 in.

4 in. Shear stud
B blockout
5 in. Section A-A

2 1/2 in.
3 1/2 in.
1 ft 8 in.
11 in.
11 in. x 9 1/2 in. x 1/2 in.
steel plate
7 in.

8 in.
1 in. diameter
7 in. long 11 in. x 9 1/2 in. x 1/2 in.

6 1/2 in.
shear stud steel plate 1
8 in.
3/4 in. diameter x 6 in. long
shear stud
6 in.

Section B-B

Figure 4. Shear stud blockout details. Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 ft = 0.305 m.

mats. Of the 28 electrical strain gauges, 20 were placed in long-term monitoring. Figure 6 shows an example of
the transverse direction of the bridge (along the length of the electrical and vibrating wire strain gauges placed in
the panel) to record strains during lifting (Fig. 5). Only half panel P2 prior to placing concrete.
of the panel length was monitored. The remaining eight
gauges were placed longitudinally to record strains in the Deflection instrumentation
short dimension of the panel and to measure strains during and data collection methods
The relative deflection from the bottom of the bridge
Panels EP3 and P2 were each instrumented with four deck to the top of the steel diaphragms joining the
vibrating wire strain gauges in the longitudinal direc- prestressed girders was measured using LVDTs (Fig. 6).
tion of the bridge. For panel EP3 these gauges were The bridge was instrumented with six LVDTs. LVDTs
numbered 1 through 4, and for panel P2 the gauges 1 through 5 were placed above the west diaphragms
were numbered 5 through 8 (Fig. 5). These gauges were between girders 1 and 6. LVDT 6 was placed between
used to record strains induced by posttensioning as well girders 2 and 3 above the east diaphragm.
as the change in strain due to creep and shrinkage for
long-term monitoring. In addition to the four longitudi- Data were collected by an electronic data acquisition
nal vibrating wire strain gauges, panel P2 was equipped system every two seconds. Monitoring of lifting strains
with 16 additional vibrating wire strain gauges in the in the precast concrete panels was achieved wirelessly
transverse direction of the bridge (Fig. 5). These gauges using a modem. During the truck load test, the data
were primarily used during truck load testing and for were also recorded using the modem.

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19 ft 9 in.
11 in.
11 in.
11 in. 27, 28
25, 26
Panel centerline 23, 24
21, 22
Two sets of electrical
strain gauges

24 in.
6 at 26 in.
3 at 19 in.
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19

2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Elevation


4 ft 9 in.

15 ft from Panel centerline

parapet 5, 6 7, 8
10 in.

9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23
10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
15 ft from
parapet 35 in. 3 at 15 in. 45 in. 3 at 15 in.

Vibrating wire for panel P2

Figure 5. Location of strain gauges. Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 ft = 0.305 m.

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Figure 6. Electrical and vibrating wire strain gauge installation in panel P2.

PCI Journal | Wi n t e r 2013 85

46 in. 156 in. 114 in. 156 in. 25 in.
36 in.
GFRP bars
41 ft 5 in. 3 ft

Casting yard

47 in. 97 in. 181 in. 92 in. 80 in. 36 in.

GFRP bars

41 ft 5 in. 3 ft

Bridge site

Figure 7. Lifting points of GFRP-reinforced precast concrete panels at the casting yard and bridge site. Note: GFRP = glass-fiber-reinforced polymer. 1 in. = 25.4 mm;
1 ft = 0.305 m.

Data analysis in the casting yard. During the second lift (Fig. 8) the strains
increased to the same levels that they were during the first lift.
Lifting strains The second lift lasted 3 minutes. Once the panel was lowered
to its final position in the casting yard, the strain decreased
Two different arrangements were used to lift the precast again. The sequence of events in Fig. 8 demonstrates that the
concrete panels at the casting yard and at the bridge site flexibility of the panel and lifting cables induces higher strains
(Fig. 7). The 24 deck panels were transported 64 mi in the panel when it is suspended in the air than when it is
(102 km) from the plant to the bridge site and lifted into supported with fixed supports on the ground.
place. Each panel was lifted a total of three times before
ending up in its final position on the bridge. The initial Figure 9 shows the maximum strain profile for half of
lift removed the deck panel from its formwork before the the panel P2 during its lift out of the casting yard. The
parapet had been cast. Once the parapets had been cast, a maximum tensile strain in the GFRP bars was measured as
second lift placed the panel on the bed of a tractor trailer. 136 με. The corresponding strain in the extreme concrete
The final lift placed the panel on top of the girders. fiber in tension is slightly higher due to the concrete cover.
This indicates that the cracking strain was exceeded at
Figure 8 shows representative strain gauge data during the some locations because the theoretical cracking strain
first lift of panel P2. The panel was fully lifted after 20 sec- obtained by dividing the modulus of rupture by the modu-
onds, representing the spike in the strain readings. The lus of elasticity of concrete is 132 με. Figure 9 shows the
maximum lifting strains were 74 με in tension and 32 με in curvature diagram, which is close to the theoretical shape.
compression. As the crane swung the panel to a temporary From the curvature diagram, the maximum deflection was
storage location, the strain remained approximately constant calculated as approximately 0.1 in. (2.5 mm).
for 6 minutes. At that point the panel was lowered onto four
wooden supports corresponding to the lifting strap loca- Transportation strains
tions, and the strains dropped to 21 με in tension and 14 με
in compression. After 7 minutes, the panel was again lifted Once the panels were placed on the trucks for the 64 mi
using the lifting straps and was swung into its final position (103 km) trip to the bridge site, the maxima and minima

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Figure 8. Strain gauge data during lifting of panel P2 in the casting yard.

of all the strain gauges during the trip were recorded Short-term observations, on the order of hours, have re-
(Fig. 10). During transport of panel EP3, careful observa- sulted in trends that demonstrate the strains experienced by
tions were made and correlated to the strains on the graph: the panels. The maximum strain in tension was 45 με, and
the maximum strain in compression was 54 με (Fig. 10).
1. The second lift involved placing the panel on the truck. The strains during the third lift were less than those of the
first lift. This is attributed to the fact that the panels had
2. The truck was stationary while the panel was tied been curing for approximately two months between the
down, and tie downs were tightened resulting in slight first and third lifts, thus the concrete modulus of elasticity
increases in strain. was higher.

3. The truck moved through the casting yard and to the Posttensioning strains
Posttensioning of the bridge deck was conducted on
4. The truck was stationary while waiting to get on Inter- September 17, 2009. The posttensioning cables were each
state 15. tensioned with a force of 40.8 kip (181 kN). Before and
after data were taken from the vibrating wire strain gauges
5. The truck traveled 64 mi (103 km) to the bridge site on in the direction parallel to the axis of the girders, the axis
US Route 6, and the instrumentation was able to detect of posttensioning. Figure 11 displays the change in strain
any vibrations that occurred during the trip. after temperature adjustment. The odd-numbered gauges
are located near the top of the deck, while the even-num-
6. The truck arrived at the bridge site and remained sta- bered gauges are located near the bottom (Fig. 5). Gauges
tionary until the panels were unloaded. 1 through 4 were located on panel EP3, and gauges 5
through 8 were located on panel P2. The average concrete
7. The truck was positioned for lifting the panel with the strain from all eight gauges was approximately 130 με
crane and remained stationary until it was unloaded. in compression, while the maximum strain measured
was 164 με. This corresponds to an average stress in the
8. Tie-downs were removed. concrete from posttensioning of 580 psi (4.0 MPa) and a
maximum stress of 720 psi (5.0 MPa). These stresses are
9. The panel was lifted into place using the crane and comparable to other research findings for similar types of
steel truss with nylon straps (Fig. 7). precast concrete panels reinforced with steel bars,12 where
the maximum stress of 950 psi (6.6 MPa) was measured
using load cells.

PCI Journal | Wi n t e r 2013 87

Figure 9. Lifting at the casting yard for half the length of panel P2. Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm.

Static truck load tests A and B in their respective lanes. Figure 12 shows the
geometric properties of the three-axle trucks test 7 loading.
The truck load tests were performed on September 29, Table 2 gives the axle weights for both trucks.
2009, and consisted of nine diagnostic live load tests. The
tests were conducted a few days before the westbound Deck deflections
lanes were opened to traffic by placing the trucks at a
specific location for at least a few minutes until all readings Figure 13 shows the relative deflections from the five
were taken. Table 1 shows the description of all static tests. LVDTs between the bridge deck and the west diaphragm
The static tests were divided into three groups depending for static tests 7, 8, and 9 using both trucks. The greatest
on the lanes being loaded. Tests 1 through 3 were per- deflections were in the fast lane between girders 4 and
formed on the slow westbound lane and were conducted 5 during tests 8 and 9. This is reasonable because both
using truck A. Tests 4 through 6 were performed on the trucks A and B are parked close to the west diaphragm
fast lane using truck B. Tests 7 through 9 used both trucks during these tests. The magnitude of the relative deflection

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Figure 10. Maximum and minimum strains during lifting and transport of panel EP3.

-180 P2
-160 EP3
Strain, µ

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Vibrating wire strain gauge

Figure 11. Vibrating wire strains in bridge deck after longitudinal posttensioning.

is small, corresponding to a span between girders–to–de- This indicates that the cracking strain was exceeded in
flection ratio of 1/13,000. This shows that the bridge deck certain locations during the truck load tests because the
panels and girder spacing were designed conservatively. theoretical cracking strain of the concrete is 132 με. Thus,
it is clear that the strains observed in the concrete during
Deck strains the truck load test were larger than those observed during
lifting and transport of the panels.
The maximum strain in the concrete occurred during test 2
when truck A was directly over the slow lane at point 2,2 Prestressed girder deflections
(Table 1 and Fig. 12). The maximum compressive strain
was 176 με (Fig. 14). The maximum tensile strain ob- During the static truck load tests, the total deflection of all
served throughout the static truck load tests was 150 με. of the prestressed concrete girders at midspan for each test

Table 1. Static truck load tests

Test 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Truck A A A B B B A,B A,B A,B

Point* 1,1 2,2 3,3 1,1 2,2 3,3 1,1 2,2 3,3
Location of rear axle centerline as given in Fig. 12.

PCI Journal | Wi n t e r 2013 89

17 ft 6 in.

Front axle

6 ft 1 in.
13 ft 1 in. 4 ft 5 in.
Typical truck

1 ft 5 in.
88 ft 2 in.
44 ft 1 in.
29 ft 5 in. 29 ft 4 in. 29 ft 5 in.
3 2 1

12 ft 12 ft 12 ft
Truck A

44 ft 5 in.
Bridge Truck B
centerline 3 2 1
7 ft

Test 7

Figure 12. Truck load tests. Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm; 1 ft = 0.305 m.

was measured using surveying methods. The maximum configuration. Although each truck applied a smaller load
deflection occurred at girder 4 during test 8 with both than the HL-93 AASHTO design truck load of 72 kip
trucks at midspan (Fig. 15). The trucks were located at the (320 kN), the deflection was significantly smaller than
boundary of the slow lane and fast lane, and girder 4 is the allowable deflection of Lg /800 in the AASHTO LRFD
located between the two trucks. This is reasonable because specifications, where Lg is the girder span. The allowable
both trucks A and B would be located at midspan in this deflection is 1.32 in. (33.5 mm), whereas the maximum
deflection observed was 0.12 in. (3.0 mm), corresponding
to a span to deflection ratio of Lg /8800.
Table 2. Truck load axle weights

Front axle Rear axle Load distribution factors

Truck Truck weight, kip
weight, kip weight, kip
Load distribution factors are important because they are
A 43.88 14.78 29.10
used to convert load effects established by a beam-line
B 43.16 14.48 28.68 analysis to the estimated results of the entire bridge sys-
tem.13 The load distribution factors were established for a
Note: 1 kip = 4.448 kN.

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Relative deck deflection, in.


Test 7
-0.003 Test 8

-0.004 Test 9




1 2 3 4 5 6

Linear variable differential transducer

Figure 13. Deck-to-girder relative deflections at west diaphragm. 1 in. = 25.4 mm.

typical interior girder using AASHTO LRFD specifications the truck load tests the shoulder lane was not loaded. The
distribution factors and were compared with experimental results for the present truck load tests were derived for a
results from the truck load tests. The distribution factors particular ith girder from deflection data using Eq. (1) fol-
for an exterior girder were not evaluated because during lowing established procedures for identical girders.14


Strain, µ



TLT 2 Top

TLT2 Bottom

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Vibrating wire strain gauge from panel P2

Figure 14. Strains from the vibrating wire strain gauge for truck load test 2.

PCI Journal | Wi n t e r 2013 91

Figure 15. Girder deflections at midspan during static truck load tests. Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm.

with GFRP was $59.25/ft2 ($637.76/m2), a 20.8% increase

(1) over the average cost of precast concrete deck panels
reinforced with epoxy-coated steel reinforcing bars. In
addition, two girders were added to the Beaver Creek
where Bridge to better control deflection and cracking. Each ad-
ditional girder was $48,000, adding $6.82/ft2 ($73.41/m2)
DFi = moment distribution factor of ith girder to the deck cost. Given a 45-year design life for the deck
panels reinforced with steel and a 75-year design life
k = number of girders for the panels reinforced with GFRP, the cost per year
would equal $1.09/ft2/year ($11.73/m2/year) for the steel-
Ri = deflection of the ith girder at midspan reinforced panels and $0.88/ft2/year ($9.47/m2/year) for
the GFRP-reinforced panels. The cost analysis does not
Rj = deflection of the jth girder at midspan take into account user costs for construction time for a
deck replacement at 45 years anticipated with a standard
Table 3 gives the results using the AASHTO LRFD speci- steel-reinforced deck. The life-cycle performance of deck
fications distribution factor DF for bending moment for an panels reinforced with GFRP bars is not known due to the
interior girder for one lane loaded, and Table 4 gives those brief history of implementation. Recent work regarding
for two lanes loaded. The maximum experimental DF was the durability of GFRP bars in concrete under a variety of
0.32 for one lane loaded and 0.33 for two lanes loaded, environmental conditions, including humidity and tem-
while the AASHTO LRFD specifications DF was 0.49 for perature, under constant stress suggests that under typical
one lane loaded and 0.68 for two lanes loaded. Compari- stresses the expected life of a concrete deck reinforced
son of the experimental results with the AASHTO LRFD with GFRP bars could be as long as 100 years.15
specifications load distributions shows that the distribution
factors obtained from the truck load tests were less than the Conclusion
code distributions. This result agrees with similar tests for
steel-reinforced precast concrete–panel bridge decks.12 This paper presents the design, construction details, and
monitoring of the GFRP-reinforced precast concrete deck
Cost comparison panels of the Beaver Creek Bridge on US Route 6 in Utah.
In addition, a comparison of the cost of the GFRP-rein-
The cost of the precast concrete deck panels reinforced forced deck versus a steel-reinforced deck was conducted.

Table 3. Bending moment distribution factors for one lane loaded

Girder Test T1 Test T2 Test T3 Test T4 Test T5 Test T6 AASHTO

3 0.26 0.24 0.32 0.22 0.22 0.20 0.49

4 0.32 0.24 0.28 0.30 0.30 0.28 0.49

92 W int e r 2 0 1 3 | PCI Journal

Table 4. Bending moment distribution factors for two lanes loaded
Based on the measurements obtained during lifting,
Girder Test T7 Test T8 Test T9 AASHTO
transportation, placement, and static truck load testing, the
following conclusions can be drawn: 3 0.22 0.27 0.24 0.68

• The 44 ft 5 in. × 6 ft 10 in. × 91/4 in. (13.4 m × 2.1 m 4 0.25 0.33 0.26 0.68
× 0.23 m) precast concrete panels were lifted using
steel tubes and straps from the bottom of the panel; would like to thank Professor Lawrence D. Reaveley,
no cracks were observed and deflections were small. Brandon Besser, Mark Bryant, Clayton Burningham,
The use of embedments is not recommended for this Ruifen Liu, and Brett Raddon for their assistance in instru-
application with GFRP bars because the low modu- mentation and data collection.
lus of elasticity of the GFRP bars would cause large
deflections if the panels were lifted from above using References
1. Issa, M. A., A. A. Yousif, M. A. Issa, I. I. Kaspar, and
• The bridge deck and the girders had a good composite S. Y. Khayyat. 1995. “Field Performance of Full Depth
action and the shear stud blockout details used were Precast Concrete Panels in Bridge Deck Construc-
successful as evidenced by measured deck and girder tion.” PCI Journal 40 (3): 82–108.
2. Yamane, T., M. K. Tadros, S. S. Badie, and M. C.
• Load distribution factors for bending moment of Baishya. 1998. “Full Depth Precast, Prestressed
interior girders obtained from the static truck load tests Concrete Bridge Deck System.” PCI Journal 43 (3):
showed that the experimental results obtained from 50–66.
truck load tests were within AASHTO LRFD specifi-
cations load distribution requirements. 3. Bakis, C. E., L. C. Bank, V. L. Brown, E. Cosenza, J.
F. Davalos, J. J. Lesko, A. Machida, F. Rizkalla, and
• The lifting and transportation strains were smaller than T. C. Triantafillou. 2002. “Fiber-Reinforced Polymer
the strains observed during the truck load tests. The Composites for Construction—State-of-the-Art Re-
latter strains exceeded the tensile cracking strain at view.” Journal of Composites for Construction 6 (2):
only a few deck locations. 73–87.

• The strains measured during lifting and in truck load 4. Karbhari, V. M., J. W. Chin, D. Hunston, B. Ben-
tests indicate that ACI 440.1R-06 Guide for the Design mokrane, T. Juskas, R. Morgan, J. J. Lesko, U.
and Construction of Structural Concrete Reinforced Sorathia, and D. Reynaud. 2003. “Durability Gap
with FRP flexural design method for GFRP-reinforced Analysis for Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites
concrete decks can be applied to precast concrete pan- in Civil Infrastructure.” Journal of Composites for
els, provided lifting and handling stresses are properly Construction 7 (3): 238–247.
5. Robert, M., and B. Benmokrane. 2010. “Physical, Me-
• A cost comparison conducted between precast chanical, and Durability Characterization of Preloaded
concrete deck panels reinforced with GFRP bars and GFRP Reinforcing Bars.” Journal of Composites for
steel bars, taking into account life-cycle performance Construction 14 (4): 368–375.
considerations, showed that the precast concrete deck
panels reinforced with GFRP bars are a viable option 6. Kumar, S. V., and H. V. S. GangaRao. 1998. “Fatigue
for implementation. Response of Concrete Decks Reinforced with FRP
Rebars.” Journal of Structural Engineering 124 (11):
• More projects are needed to demonstrate the longev- 11–16.
ity of bridge decks constructed with precast concrete
GFRP-reinforced bridge panels under actual traffic 7. Benmokrane, B., E. El-Salakawy, A. El-Ragaby, and
conditions. T. Lackey. 2006. “Designing and Testing of Concrete
Bridge Decks Reinforced with Glass FRP Bars.” Jour-
Acknowledgments nal of Bridge Engineering 11 (2): 217–229.

The writers wish to acknowledge the financial support of 8. Benmokrane, B., E. El-Salakawy, S. El-Gamal, and
the Utah Department of Transportation and the University S. Goulet. 2007. “Construction and Testing of an Inno-
of Utah. Also, they would like to acknowledge the contri- vative Concrete Bridge Deck Totally Reinforced with
butions of Ames Construction Inc., Hughes Brothers Inc., Glass FRP Bars: Val-Alain Bridge on Highway 20
and Precast Concrete Products. In addition, the authors East.” Journal of Bridge Engineering 12 (5): 632–645.

PCI Journal | Wi n t e r 2013 93

9. AASHTO (American Association of State Highway Notation
and Transportation Officials). 2007. AASHTO LRFD
Bridge Design Specifications. 4th ed. Washington, DC: DF = distribution factor
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11. PCI Industry Handbook Committee. 2010. PCI Design Ri = deflection of ith girder
Handbook: Precast and Prestressed Concrete. 7th ed.
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A. Nadermann. 2010. “Evaluation of the 24th Street
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way Bridges—An LRFD Approach. 2nd ed. Hoboken,
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mination of Bridge Design Parameters through Field
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94 W int e r 2 0 1 3 | PCI Journal

About the authors (13.4 m × 2.1 m × 0.23 m) precast concrete panels
einforced with glass-fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP)
Chris P. Pantelides is a professor bars. This paper presents monitoring data from two pan-
in the Civil and Environmental els during lifting, transport, posttensioning, and static
Engineering Department of the load testing. The relative deflections between the bridge
University of Utah in Salt Lake deck and the diaphragms were small, demonstrating that
City. He received his bachelor’s the connections between precast concrete deck panels
degree at the American University and prestressed concrete girders provide good compos-
of Beirut and his MS and PhD ite action. The live load deflections of the prestressed
from the University of Missouri– concrete girders during static load testing were smaller
Rolla. His research interests than the allowable deflection. The strains measured
include seismic design and during lifting and in the load tests indicate that the ACI
rehabilitation of reinforced 440.1R-06) Guide for the Design and Construction of
concrete buildings and bridges. Structural Concrete Reinforced with FRP flexural de-
sign method for GFRP reinforced concrete decks can be
Jim Ries received his BS and MS applied to precast concrete panels, provided that lifting
from the University of Utah. His and handling stresses are properly designed.
research interests include design
and construction of structural Keywords
concrete reinforced with FRP
bars. Bridge, deck, fiber-reinforced polymers, FRP, nonde-
structive test, panels, truck load test.
Rebecca Nix is a structural
engineer with the Utah Depart- Review policy
ment of Transportation. She
received her BS from the Univer- This paper was reviewed in accordance with the
sity of Utah. Her research Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute’s peer-review
interests include design and process.
construction of structural concrete
reinforced with FRP bars. Reader comments

Abstract Please address and reader comments to journal@pci

.org or Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, c/o PCI
The deck of the Beaver Creek Bridge in Utah was con- Journal, 200 W. Adams St., Suite 2100, Chicago, IL
structed in 2009 using 44 ft 5 in. × 6 ft 10 in. × 91/4 in. 60606. J

PCI Journal | Wi n t e r 2013 95