Feasibility Evaluation of Utilizing High-Strength Concrete in Design and Construction of Highway Bridge Structures

The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the feasibility of using high-strength concrete in the design and construction of highway bridge structures. A literature search was conducted; a survey of five regional fabrication plants was performed; concrete mix designs were studied in the laboratory and in the field; tests of nine full-scale specimens were conducted. Three concentrically prestressed pile specimens were fabricated and tested in flexure as part of this program. Each of the pile specimens had a 24-in. (610-mm) square cross section with a concentric 12-in. (305-mm) diameter void. All pile specimens were 24-ft. (7.3-m) long. These three pile specimens had a design 28-day concrete compressive strength of 8,500 psi (58.6 MPa). Four full-size prestressed bulb-tee girders were fabricated and tested as part of this program. Early age flexure and shear strength tests were conducted on two bulb-tee flexural strength tests. The four specimens were subjected to a fatigue test followed by a flexural strength test. The specimens were 54-in. (1.37-m) deep bulb-tee sections with a 6-in. (152-mm) thick web. Each girder specimen was 70-ft. (21.3-m) long. Each bulb-tee specimen had a design 28-day concrete compressive strength of 10,000 psi (69.0 MPa). Prior to testing, three of the four bulb-tee specimens had a 9-1/2 in. (240-mm) thick and 10-ft. (3.05-m) wide deck slab added. One bulb-tee specimen used for early age testing did not have a deck. Fabrication and driving of a single 130-ft. (39.6-m) long prestressed pile specimen was also included as part of this program. The pile specimen had the same cross-sectional configuration and design 28-day concrete compressive strength as the first three pie specimens tested in flexure. Performance of this pile specimen during handling and driving was evaluated in the field. The high-strength concrete piles and girders tested as part of this research program performed adequately with respect to both design requirements and the requirements of the AASHTO Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges. It is concluded that the provisions of the AASHTO Standard are conservatively applicable for members with concrete compressive strengths up to 10,000 psi (69.0 MPa). Results of this program clearly demonstrated several potential benefits of utilizing high-strength concrete for highway bridge structures including (1) larger girder spacing, (2) longer pile lengths, and (3) lower prestress losses. Therefore, use of high-strength concrete for highway bridge structures is recommended. However, based on the difficulties encountered during this project with respect to achieving 10,000 psi (69.0 MPa) compressive strength concrete, it appears that precast fabricators will need to make some changes to the normal production regime in order to consistently produce high-strength concrete.

  • Record URL:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Tulane University

    6823 Saint Charles Avenue
    New Orleans, LA  United States  70118

    Louisiana Transportation Research Center

    Louisiana State University, 4101 Gourrier Avenue
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70808

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Bruce, R N
    • Russell, H G
    • Roller, J J
    • Martin, B T
  • Publication Date: 1994-1


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 220p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01145046
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/LA-94-282, 282
  • Contract Numbers: LA HPR Study No. 90-4C
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Nov 20 2009 12:41PM