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Solutions for Aging Low-Volume Road Bridges

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

1:00-2:30 PM ET
The Transportation Research Board has met the standards and
requirements of the Registered Continuing Education Providers Program.
Credit earned on completion of this program will be reported to RCEP. A
certificate of completion will be issued to participants that have registered
and attended the entire session. As such, it does not include content that
may be deemed or construed to be an approval or endorsement by RCEP.
Illustrate ways to repair old bridges, close bridges, and find
alternate structures or routes that adhere to budgetary

Learning Objectives
At the end of this webinar, you will be able to:

• List alternatives for replacing or repairing old bridges

• Understand how to use geosynthetic reinforced soil bridge
• Understand how to use buried bridges as an alternative to
conventional bridges
Solutions for Aging
Low-Volume Road Bridges

Gordon R. Keller, PE, GE

Geotechnical Engineer
-9% of Nation’s 614,400
Bridges are Structurally
Deficient (NBI, 2016)

(75% of those deficient

bridges are on Rural Roads)

-State of Iowa- 20,000 LVR Bridges

On County Roads, 24% are
Structurally Deficient

-State of Kansas- 25,464 Bridges

1,229 are Structurally Deficient

Dr. Travis Konda, PE HNTB

The Problems

Structural Capacity
Hydraulic Capacity

Ken Skorseth
The Problems

Poor Foundations
Inadequate Scour Protection

Travis Konda
• Load Restrictions
• Temporary Bridges
• Single Lane Bridges
• Bridge/Road Closure
• Use of Low-Water Crossings
• *Structural Repairs
• *Reusing Structural Members
• *ABC and Modular Units
• *GRS- IBS Abutments
• *Buried Bridges
Temporary Bridges
-Big R
-Railroad Cars
One-Lane Bridges
Road Closures—Alternative Routes

Travis Konda
Detours and Closure

-Low Traffic and Reasonabe Detours

Can Justify Closures
-Consider Vehicle Operating Costs

Prof. Steven Schrock, PE U. Kansas

Low-Water Crossings
Vented Fords
-Is Traffic Use Low?
-Are Occasional Delays
-Do Flows Fluctuate Widely?
-Is the Channel Broad/Flat?

Low-Water Bridges
Repairing/Reusing Structural Components

-Old Beams on a New Foundation

-Reuse of Old Bridge Foundations (TRB)

Travis Konda
(ABC-Accelerated Bridge Construction)
& Modular Units

Justin Dahlberg, PE
Iowa State U.
Bridge Eng. Center

Precast Concrete
Travis Konda Beams/Units
GRS-IBS Abutments

Daniel Alzamora, PE FHWA

Buried Bridges .

(Flexible Long-Span Structures)

Joel Hahm, PE
Big R Bridge
Brian P. Keierleber P.E.
Bridge Repairs and Replacement
Buchanan County Iowa
• 259 Bridges over 20’
• 27-Railcar Bridges
• 6-GRS-IBS Abutments
• 2-Cast on Site Slabs
• 1-Press Brake Tub Girder
• 3-UHPC
• 3- Glue –Laminated Bridges
• 3 Internal Curing Concrete
• 2 Galvanized Beam Bridges
• Working on UHPC
• Working on Tadros design
• 2 Buried Soil Structures
Many of our bridges were old
What we are faced with
12000 2TAHD Trailboss LowPro
We Have NOT kept up with Modern


Postings Do Not Work unless I am there.

Overloads Have A Cumulative Effect
The world and our economy relies on Food
They did not care before
They always made it before
Weight kills
The Bridge does NOT Discriminate
The semi was on it
Low Water Crossings are NOT Compatible with
Modern Equipment
Most asked Question-Why not just throw
in a pipe
Very few can be economically closed
Asphalt Over Concrete
Road Salts are Harmful
Simplified Deck Overlaying
Finished UHPC Deck Overlay
We have spliced many H-piling in.
Repairs are Band-Aids
Partial Timber encasement
Dough boy Bridge Commercial Repairs
Current Concrete Pier Repair
Concrete Pier Repair
Over Time the backwall kicks out
A LONG TERM Solution
Encased Abutments
My old repair Technique
Old Method of Backwall Repair
Drive sheet piling behind the old abutment
Current Repair Method
Cut Out Bad Sections
Curve around for stability
Support the Abutment
Encase to Beams $12,000+materials
3Pier Encasements $17,360+ materials
Pier encasement
Concrete Box Repair
Remove the Unsound Concrete and
pour it back
Piling extensions
Add a pier to eliminate postings
Sometimes there are no GOOD repairs
We have constructed 27 Bridges from
Railroad Flatcars
What Do They Look Like?
What They Look Like To Us
Flatcars Not Boxcars
Types of Cars
• Pulp Cars
• Military
• 89’ Flatcars, Cost $19,000 (?) Delivered
• 89’ Flatcar cut to 68’, Cost $16,667 Delivered
• Total Costs range between $65,000 and
Pulp Cars
89 Ft. Flatcar
68 Ft Railcar
Load Capacity
• All our
Iowa State University has Load Tested all of
our RRFC Bridge Designs
Various Types of Abutments

• 1) Existing Concrete Abutments

• 2) New Concrete Stub Abutments
• 3) Concrete Stub With Sheet piling
• 4) Typical Local Abutments
• 5) Existing Cut Granite
Use What you have $68,019
COMPLETE BRIDGE 2010 $61,005
UHPC Design Data

• Modulus of elasticity final = 7,500 ksi

• Compressive strength at release = 14.5 ksi
• Compressive strength final = 21.5 ksi
• Tensile strength ~ 1.20 ksi

Final Section New detail

Korean UHPC Design

Mixing UHPC in our Yard K-UHPC

JUNE 23, 2015

County Constructed Forms
JUNE 23, 2015

Standard Slab Construction
August 25, 2015

County Post Tensioning
Limited Finish Work

Hawkeye Bridge Korean UHPC
Folded Plate Steel Bridge Concepts
Initial tests are very promising
Stay in place decking and Galvanized
Amish Sawmill Press Brake Tub Girder
Gerstenberger Bridge Cast on Site Box
Compacted Concrete on GRS
Completed Abutment face on a 1:1
1,000 of these exist
Re-use the old piling
The footing for the Buried Soil Structure
This is an Overflow Structure
2 FT. of Cover
41 ft. span and bottomless
Vibratory Piling Driver
GRUEN WALD Glue Laminated Bridge
Forest Products Lab Bridge
Jesup South Bridge any Questions?
Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil
Integrated Bridge System

Old, Deficient Low-Volume Road Bridges-

What Can We Do?
October 3, 2017

Efficiency through technology and collaboration

What is GRS IBS?
• Accelerated construction
• Utilizes compacted granular fill
and geosynthetic reinforcement in
alternating layers.

GRS IBS – Primary construction materials

Why Consider the GRS IBS?

• Lower costs
• Accelerated bridge construction
• Smooth transition eliminating the “bridge

GRS-IBS PA Project Examples
Cost Comparisons
Randy Alberts – PA DOT
GRS-IBS Activity in Pennsylvania
1 1
2011 (1)
1 1

1 2013 (4)

1 2014 (8)

2015 (6)

1 1
2016 (3)
North Hopewell Township, York County
Blymire Hollow Road

•Total cost: $210,000.00

•Abutment Costs: $84,000.00
(local 2012
Adjusted to
2016: $239.82
Average GRS Abutment Costs

GRS-IBS Abutment Costs in PA

Traditional Abutments 2012
$/SF of Face Area


110.53 Ave. 103.98 115.64

96.15 97.33 95.9
71.02 77.26 78.04
54.84 55.9 60.29

Series 1 Column1 Column2

Traditional Abutments
(local 2012 project)
Adjusted to 2016: $239.82
GRS-IBS Abutments
Potential Savings $103.98/SF
56% Savings over
traditional abutments!
Accelerated Bridge Construction

• GRS IBS is quick and simple to build (weeks vs.

months for conventional construction)
• If using PBES for the superstructure, a bridge
can be replaced in about 2 to 4 weeks
depending on the project complexity
• Design can be easily modified in the field

Eliminating the bridge bump -
• The GRS IBS alleviates “the bump at the end
of the bridge”

GRS IBS – Where should GRS IBS not be Considered?

• GRS IBS should not be considered at:

– High water velocities?
– Deep Scour?
– Excessive Settlement?
• Defined based on site specific conditions

GRS IBS – Where can GRS IBS be Considered?
• Grade Separation or Water crossings
• Low to high volume roads
• Load combinations (Seismic, lateral, thermal, uplift)
• Complex geometries (Skew, longitudinal grades,
transverse grades)
• Superstructure types (Adjacent concrete boxes to steel
girders with semi-integral abutment)

NOTE: All Hydraulic and

Environmental permitting
requirements need to
followed as with any
GRS IBS – When designed and constructed properly

MA – Cape Cod National Seashore EFLHD (2015)
CT – I-84 Off-Ramp in Manchester (2016)
HI – Saddle Road Bridge (2012)

Image source: FHWA
ID – Turner Road over Penstock (2016)

IN – Hamilton County (2015)

Image source: Buchanan County
LA – Maree Michael Canal, Vermilion Parish
MA – SR 7A over
Housatonic RR (2014)
MI – Keefer Rd. (2014)
NC – Rocky Mount Church Rd, Anson County
NM – NM 419 MILE POST 27.5 Bridge (2015)
NY – CR 47 over Trout Brook
St. Lawrence County (2013)
PA – Cherry Street, North Hopewell Township,
TN – Cherokee National Forest (2013)
WI – CTH S over Shaw Brook and STH26 over Pratt
Creek, Dodge County (2016)
WY – Sand Creek Rd (2016)
Questions and Comments

Buried Bridges as an Alternative to Traditional Bridges
TRB Webinar - Solutions for Aging Low Volume Road Bridges
October 3, 2017

Joel Hahm, P.E.

Senior Engineer
Big R Bridge
Greeley, CO
Chair of TRB AFF70-1
Presentation Outline
•Introduction to Buried Bridges
•Design Considerations & Inputs
•Case studies / applications
Buried Bridge Overview
•Definition of Buried Bridges:
•Buried Bridge is any bridge that derives its support from both the structure and the
surrounding soil through soil-structure interaction. Structures consisting of corrugated
metal are Flexible Buried Bridges.
•AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications Section 12.8.9 (design).
•AASHTO LRFD Bridge Construction Specifications Section 26 (construction).
•AASHTO Materials Specifications – M167
•AREMA Chapter 1, Section 4
Buried Bridge Materials
•Flexible Buried Bridge Materials and Capabilities:

Property Aluminum (ALSP) Shallow Deep Corrugated

Corrugated Steel Steel

Geometry Types Small arch, box, closed Arches, closed shapes Arch, box, pipe, multi-
shapes radius arches

Span Range 10 to ~30ft 5 to ~20 ft 10 - ~100 ft +

•Advantages of Flexible Buried Bridges vs. Traditional Bridges:
Corrugation Profile 9” x 2.5” 6” x 2” 15” x 5.5”
•LVR Buried Bridge Applications: 19” x 9.5”

Design Yield Strength 24 ksi 33 ksi 44 ksi

(ASTM A796)

Stiffness ~1.5 x shallow 1 (baseline) ~9 x shallow

~6.25 x ALSP
Buried Bridge Materials
•Flexible Buried Bridge Materials and Capabilities:

Property Aluminum (ALSP) Shallow Deep Corrugated

Corrugated Steel Steel

Geometry Types Small arch, box, closed Arches, closed shapes Arch, box, pipe, multi-
shapes radius arches

Span Range 10 to ~30ft 5 to ~20 ft 10 - ~100 ft +

•Advantages of Flexible Buried Bridges vs. Traditional Bridges:
Corrugation Profile 9” x 2.5” 6” x 2” 15” x 5.5”
•LVR Buried Bridge Applications: 19” x 9.5”

Design Yield Strength 24 ksi 33 ksi 44 ksi

(ASTM A796)

Stiffness ~1.5 x shallow 1 (baseline) ~9 x shallow

~6.25 x ALSP
Buried Bridge Profiles
•Flexible Buried Bridge Materials and Capabilities:

•Advantages of Flexible Buried Bridges vs. Traditional Bridges:

•LVR Buried Bridge Applications:
Buried Bridge Design
•AASHTO LRFD requires finite element analysis (FEA) for deep corrugated structures (corrugation profile
depth > 5”). FHWA developed CANDE for FEA designs.
•Soil-structure interaction – backfill and structure work together to carry load
•Deep corrugated design considers moment, thrust, moment/thrust interaction (main difference from
culverts, shallow corrugated, aluminum)
•Require select granular backfill (FEA provides flexibility – possibly design heavier structure to be able to
use lower quality backfill)
•Arch shapes are most efficient
•Box shapes minimize rise & maximize end area / clearance
•Design considers inputs based on site conditions – each design is customized to the site
Buried Bridge Advantages vs. Traditional Bridges
•No bridge deck or joints or bearings to maintain, repair, or replace
•Lower foundation costs & no bump at the end of the bridge (if foundations properly designed)
•Able to accommodate complex site geometries & road profiles, No need to minimize bridge width (allowing for
pedestrian access, bike lanes, etc.), Can be lengthened for future road widening
•Structural redundancy, resilient, aesthetic flexibility, sustainability, enhanced safety benefits
•Often able to reuse bridge foundations
•ABC benefits - No heavy equipment or specialized labor skills needed for construction, Shorter design & material
lead times than rigid bridges, Can be installed in days or weeks rather than months, easier & cheaper to transport.
Durability & Service Life
•Buried bridges typically have no invert
•Hot dipped galvanized - 50% more galvanizing than CSP and are available in much higher steel thicknesses (currently ~1/3
•Backfill electrochemical requirements apply for soil & water in contact with the structure – not necessarily site soil
•Use same backfill electrochemical requirements as those in AASHTO LRFD Design Section for MSE walls.
Considers pH, resistivity, chlorides, sulfates, organics.
•Added features/detailing like splash walls can limit exposure.
•Secondary coatings (polyurea, epoxy, asphalt, polymer, etc.) can be used in harsh conditions.
•Barriers can be used to shed surface water to prevent leaking and protect from de-icing chemicals
•American Galvanizers Association (AGA) is a good resource for information on performance of galvanized structures

•Service life primarily depends on proper installation, maintenance, and what structure is exposed
to. End user (owner) has greatest impact on service life.
Typical Applications
• Bridge replacement
• Limited site access / remote locations
• Grade separation
• Staged construction
• Increase hydraulic capacity / reduce scour
• Rehabilitation of existing bridges
• Wildlife / aquatic crossings
• Environmentally sensitive crossings
• Canal / utility crossings
• Pedestrian access
• Emergency / temp / detours
• Single span alternative for multi-cell hydraulic crossings
• Eliminate load restrictions
• Widen crossings / improve safety
• Heavy loads
• Any short to medium span bridge project!
Design Considerations & Inputs
•Site Geometry Inputs:
•Min/max clear span at xx elevation or xx ft below road

•Inside clearance / end area

•Hydraulic considerations

•Alignment relative to road

•Available distance from bottom of structure to top of road

•Flexibility (raise road grade, lower foundations, encroach

on clearance box, etc.)
Design Considerations & Inputs
•Site Soil Conditions & Backfill Properties:
•Boring logs & historical site data

•Local geology & experience

•Classification tests of representative materials

•Scour depth & other hydraulic concerns

•Identify backfill source prior to design & bidding

•Consider site grading impacts

Design Considerations & Inputs
•Loading / Performance Requirements:
•HL-93 is AASHTO LRFD standard – simplifies NBI
load rating reporting requirements

•U-80, mining vehicles, E-80 Cooper, heavy trucks

(heavier than legal loads)

•Special design loads require axle loads & spacing,

tire size, vehicle specs (if available)

•Design capacity is driven by axle loading (not GVW )

– able to carry heavier loads than a traditional bridge

•Consider design benefits to raising road / lowering

foundations to increase cover & carry more load
Design Considerations & Inputs
•Other Considerations:
•Custom geometries provide lowest cost solution – define project requirements & let designer find best geometry

•Foundation types – design foundations based on settlement tolerance, consider foundation soil improvement to
save on costs & improve quality. Biggest project cost / time savings vs. traditional bridges can come from
foundations – especially with flexible buried bridges.

•Modest investment in geotechnical engineering can pay off – have geotech consult with designer to make sure
appropriate recommendations are provided. FEA designs can be customized and optimized to site.
Case Studies / Applications
• Small Span Rural Crossings
• NC State Veterans Home – Black Mountain, NC
• Foundation Reuse – Gray, ME
• Accelerated Construction – St. Johnsbury, VT
Lincoln County, Colorado
Weld County, Colorado
Vantage, Washington
Buchanan County, Iowa
56’5” span x 15’ rise box structure
Black Mountain, North Carolina

• ~15’ distance from creek invert to road

• 48’ min clear span at 6’ above creek invert
• Wide span to get beyond limits of disturbance
• Sloping transverse grade
• Considered traditional bridge early on – would have required ~100 ft + span based on creek banks
As Detailed in Project Documents
Buried Bridge Option
Cost Comparison
Item Rigid Bridge Buried Flexible Steel Bridge
Structure Cost Structure Cost

Design, Installation, and Structure $213,650 $205,950

Footings / Pile Caps, Ftg $52,500 $101,780*

Excavation & Dewatering * Includes cost for fnd soil improvement. Ftg larger than
pipe cap.

Sheet Pile Cutoff Walls $39,250 $39,250

H-Pile Deep Foundations $360,000 -----------

Backfill Foundation Cut $10,000 $15,000

Total Cost $675,400 $361,980 (-45%)

Lawrence Rd. Bridge Replacement
Gray, Maine
Custom Box Structure
28’1½ ” span x 6’ 3½ ” rise

• Replacement for 20 ft span bridge

• Height limitations
• Reuse Bridge Foundations
• Improve hydraulic capacity
Existing Bridge
Existing Bridge
Foundation Detail
Getting Started
Getting Started
Backfilling & Headwalls
No Walers or Deadmen
VT Route 2B Bridge Replacement
St. Johnsbury, Vermont

47’11” span x 26’9” rise Arch

• Replacement for 139 ft span steel & concrete bridge built in 1936
• Sized for AREMA clearance
• 28 day max. trail closure / 50 day road closure for all work
St. Johnsbury Rd Bridge Replacement
• 1.5 days for assembly by first time St.
contractor, open
Johnsbury, to public in 45 days
• Bridge Replacement
Incorporated MSE precast panel headwalls on curve. over Former Rail Bed (AREMA Clearance)
• Used precast footings – sized to match anticipated settlement of approach embankments.
St. Johnsbury Rd Bridge Replacement
St. Johnsbury, Vermont
Bridge Replacement over Former Rail Bed (AREMA Clearance)
Today’s Participants
• Gordon Keller, Genesee Geotechnical,
• Brian Keierleber, Buchanan County, Iowa,
• Daniel Alzamora, Federal Highway Administration,
• Joel Hahm, Big R Bridge,
Panelists Presentations

After the webinar, you will receive a follow-up email

containing a link to the recording
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