Field Investigation and Performance of Bridge Approach Slabs

Bridge approach slabs are designed to function as a transitional roadway to the bridge deck, spanning the distance between the abutment and the road pavement. However, the number of rough riding approaches with heavy maintenance requirements is sufficient to convince highway agencies that a serious problem exists. The complaints usually describe a 'bump' that motorists feel when they approach or leave bridges. This bump results in reduction of steering response, distraction to the driver, amplified truck impact and dynamic response in bridge decks, and expense to maintenance operations. Approach slabs can lose their contact supports due to various reasons, including settlement of soil and bulging of embankments. The aim of this paper is to present results from a study to evaluate the analytical behavior and field performance of new design alternatives that could reduce or eliminate this problem. The new designs were analyzed using comprehensive finite element (FE) models and were also built and instrumented at the Doremus Avenue Bridge in Newark, New Jersey, for testing and long-term monitoring. Various truck load tests were performed prior to opening the bridge to traffic. The results show that the FE models are accurate and that the new design alternatives have higher load carrying capacities than those of the existing design. In addition, results also show that long-term field monitoring using various sensors can lead to quantitative measurements of various factors that can lead to the cracking of the approach slabs.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Abstract reprinted with permission from Taylor and Francis
  • Authors:
    • Nassif, Hani H
    • Abu-Amra, Talat
    • Suksawang, Nakin
    • Khodair, Yasser
    • Shah, Nirali
  • Publication Date: 2009-4


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01144462
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 15 2009 5:47PM