Buchanan County IBRD Bridge Project: Evaluation of a Folded Plate Girder Bridge System

Research Project


Buchanan County IBRD Bridge Project: Evaluation of a Folded Plate Girder Bridge System


Principal investigators: Brent Phares, 515-294-5879, bphares@iastate.edu (project list), Iowa State University

Project status


Start date: 03/01/13
End date: 06/30/17


Report: June 2017, Evaluation of a Folded Plate Girder Bridge System 11.42 mb (*pdf)

Related publications: Evaluation of a Folded Plate Girder Bridge System 673.63 kb *pdf June 2017

*To read pdf files, you may need to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.


Sponsor(s): FHWA Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment (IBRD) Program
Iowa Department of Transportation

About the research


With the assistance of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Institute for Transportation (InTrans) at Iowa State University, Buchanan County, Iowa was awarded a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Innovative Bridge Research and Development (IBRD) Program grant to help construct and evaluate an innovative short-span bridge (i.e., the Amish Sawmill Bridge). The bridge was designed and constructed using folded plate tub girders.

This bridge utilizes a folded plate girder superstructure supported on geosynthetic-reinforced soil (GRS) abutments. To evaluate the structural behavior of the bridge, the researchers conducted laboratory and field testing with the goal of validating the adequacy of the folded plate girder for short-span bridge construction.

The research team conducted three laboratory tests on a folded plate girder specimen similar to the girders that were used on the completed bridge to study the girder’s construction-stage behavior, flexural behavior, and shear behavior. The researchers conducted live load field tests immediately after completion of the bridge with the girders and one year after bridge construction to evaluate the behavior of the bridge and its components. Full-scale finite element models of the bridge were established to interpret the test results. The researchers drew the following conclusions from experimental and numerical evaluation results:

2711 S. Loop Drive, Suite 4700, Ames, Iowa 50010-8664
Phone: 515-294-9501 ~ Fax: 515-294-0467
The Bridge Engineering Center is administered by Iowa State University's Institute for Transportation.

Bridge Engineering Center logo

Timber Bridge Program Structural Health Monitoring Current Projects Completed Projects About BEC Staff Students Related Links

Iowa State University logo and link