FRP Bridge Evolution

The Texas Department of Transportation has expanded its research implementation of custom fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite bridge beams for a new drainage ditch bridge in Refugio County, Texas. Beginning in late 2006 and scheduled for completion in summer 2007, the project's goal was to take the lessons learned from a previous hybrid bridge project and evolve the current customization and production processes in hopes of optimizing performance and cost variables for future projects. This article describes the construction of this project, which uses customized FRP, flanged U-shaped beams and a concrete deck construction. The beams were fabricated using a vacuum infusion process to optimize the physical properties of the beam and facilitate production. Prior to installation, an acoustic emission evaluation test on two beams was conducted. The tests monitored emission during the background check prior to loading, during load holds, and during the background check after completion of loading. The test verified the performance of the beams under the load criteria set forth by the project specifications. The beams each weigh approximately 5,000 lb and sit on abutments where the concrete deck poured onto them. The lightweight FRP beams allowed for easy delivery and rapid onsite deployment. A post-construction assessment indicated that the beams are actually stronger than anticipated.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 14-15
  • Serial:
    • Bridges
    • Volume: 10
    • Issue Number: 6
    • Publisher: ZweigWhite

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01100296
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 29 2008 11:25PM