A Fresh Look at Orthotropic Technology

An orthotropic bridge deck is a collage of steel plates welded together with a flat, solid steel deck stiffened by a grid of deck ribs welded to framing members like floor beams and girders. By integrated the structural system and the driving surface, orthotropic deck bridges are more lightweight and efficient on long-span structures. This article describes orthotropic deck bridges and makes a case for the renewed use of them in the United States. Additional benefits noted include their seismic performance, maneuverability (as in movable bridges), and versatility for construction in cold weather. The author discusses earlier setbacks, deck deflection, wearing surfaces, standardization and industry cooperation, fabrication and construction, and durability. Case studies of orthotropic bridge decks in use in Alaska, Louisiana, and California are presented. The article concludes with a section discussing the need for college-level and professional education on orthotropic design and engineering, in order to incorporate these systems in American transportation engineering.


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01001110
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 22 2005 12:48PM