Development of Improved Connection Details for Voided Slab Bridges


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Virginia Tech


Adjacent voided slab bridges (AVSB) are economical systems for short spans. They provide the advantages of having low clearances due to their small section depths, accelerated construction times, and high torsional stiffness. The current longitudinal connection detail, a partial depth grouted shear key, has been known to fail in many of these bridges. The failure leads to reflective cracking in the wearing surface which allows chloride laden water to seep down through the joint, where it corrodes the reinforcement and prestressing strand. Ultimately, the failed keys lead to costly repairs and bridge replacements sooner than their proposed lifespan.

This research project aimed to develop a more durable longitudinal connection detail by using sub-assemblages to test five alternate connections. The objective was to find a connection that abated all cracking in the shear key, thus removing the need for transverse post-tensioning. The tested connections employed alternate connection shapes and two different mix designs of fiber reinforced high strength concretes. The results showed that each tested connection outperformed the current detail.

The findings of this research indicate that the longitudinal connection detail of adjacent member voided slab bridges should be modified. The modified version should be a blockout with lap splice connection detail utilizing a nonproprietary fiber reinforced high strength concrete.



Voided Slab, Sub-Assemblage, Shear Key, Fiber Reinforced Concrete