Refinement of the Inverted T-Beam Bridge System for Virginia

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Virginia Tech

The inverted T-beam bridge system is a bridge construction technique that follows accelerated bridge construction processes. The system was discovered in France and first adopted in the U.S. by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In 2012 the system was modified and adopted by Virginia, with research being carried out at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). The research focused on multiple items involving the system, but the most relevant one is that regarding the transverse bending behavior of the system for different geometries, and joint types between adjacent precast beam members. The study found that using a joint system without any mechanical connection between adjacent beams was most efficient, and gave adequate performance under monotonic loading. The study recommended cyclic load testing be carried out on this joint type, as well as a welded joint similar to those found in decked bulb-T systems.

The research contained herein presents the setup and results of this testing. From the work it was found that the no-connection joint behaves adequately under cyclic loading at service loads, however surface roughening between precast and cast-in-place concrete must be adequate. The welded connection behaves well, granted the surfaces to be welded are properly prepared. From these results it is recommended to evaluate different surface roughening techniques, and repeat the cyclic testing using the best. The surface roughening technique chosen should be used to provide guidance on this aspect of construction with inverted T-beams.

Inverted T-Beam, Poutre Dalle, Accelerated Bridge Construction, Reflective Cracking, Subassemblage, Transverse Bending