About the research
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) constructed its first glass fiber polymer (GFRP) reinforced bridge deck on MN 42 over Dry Creek just north of Elgin, Minnesota. Successful implementation of the GFRP reinforced bridge decks would eliminate the steel corrosion problems that often shorten the life of the deck. Although there has been wide use of GFRP reinforcement in bridge decks in some parts of Canada, there have been relatively few GFRP reinforced bridge decks built in the United States. The Canadian decks were primarily designed using the empirical design method in the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code. This method differs significantly from the design guidelines produced by AASHTO and ACI Committee 440 on fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement. To maximize the knowledge and experience gained in constructing this type of bridge decks, this research project investigates the performance of a case-study bridge deck focusing on key issues such as cracking, deck stiffness, load distribution factors, and GFRP rebar strains. The main goals of this project are:
- Collect behavior information and response characteristics of the bridge deck under service loads
- Identify the load distribution characteristics, especially for the bridge girders supporting the deck
- Examine the short-and long-term durability of the bridge deck in terms of formation and propagation of cracks
- Assess the impact of using non-conventional, corrosion-resistant deck reinforcement on maintenance needs and life-cycle cost with a specific interest in including service-life design philosophies
The outcome of this project will directly contribute to the development of guidance and details for the construction of corrosion-resistant bridges with service lives beyond 100 years.