Toward Improving the Performance of Highway Bridge Approach Slabs

The objective of this study was to quantify the amount of rotation that could develop between an approach slab, after base settlement, and a bridge abutment. A better approach-bridge transition could then be developed by using a ductile concrete to directly connect the approach slab with a bridge deck and lessen or eliminate the annoying “bump” as well as maintenance problems associated with approach slab deterioration. In the future, acceleration bridge construction could then use high quality precast approach slabs directly connected to the bridge with a ductile concrete strip. To quantify the problems associated with approach slabs, particularly cracking and rotations, an extensive analytical study was conducted. Parameters included in the study were: approach slab length, slab material, subgrade soil type, abutment height, and possible settlement trenches that may develop under the slab near its support on the abutment. From the analyses it was concluded that end rotation of the approach slab near the abutment varied depending on geometry of the approach slab, trench and abutment as well as with the stiffness of the soil and concrete used in the analyses. A maximum rotation of 0.0045 radians was computed from the analyses in a situation with a loose soil and a 4 ksi concrete approach slab but 0.002 radians could be used for normal design.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE)

    University of Wisconsin, Madison
    1415 Engineering Drive, 2205 Engineering Hall
    Madison, WI  United States  53706

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Oliva, Michael G
    • Rajek, Gregory
  • Publication Date: 2011-9


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 91p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01491284
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: CFIRE 03-10
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT06-G-0020
  • Created Date: Jul 29 2013 4:11PM