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OH Bridge Showcases New Steel Method

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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A new bridge in Muskingum County, Ohio, isn’t just making life easier for residents of the town of Roseville; it’s setting a precedent when it comes to the construction of a newly developed type of short steel span.

Roseville, Ohio, bridge
Photos: Muskingum County Engineer

A new bridge in Roseville, Ohio, was built with a novel accelerated system called press brake-formed tub-girder construction.

The press-brake-formed steel tub girder (PBTG) system has been in development for several years by West Virginia University engineer Karl Barth. Barth worked with Muskingum County Engineer Doug Davis to develop the bridge that would be built in Roseville, only the second PBTG bridge ever built, and the first in the world to combine PBTG design with sandwich-plate decking.

Responding to a Challenge

Barth led the team that began to develop the PBTG design in 2011 to answer a challenge from the Federal Highway Administration to develop a steel solution for accelerated construction of a short-span bridge. The FHWA has in recent years stressed Accelerated Bridge Construction to help cut down on costs and traffic disruptions.

Tub girders

The PBTG design involves modular galvanized shallow trapezoidal boxes—the “tub girders”—made from structural steel plate.

According to the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance, the PBTG design involves modular galvanized shallow trapezoidal boxes—the “tub girders”—made from structural steel plate. The system calls for the bridge deck to be laid on the tub girders prior to shipment to the site, so the whole unit can be shipped as one, then deployed quickly without the need for complicated construction onsite.

Barth and Davis presented on the construction method, and the Roseville bridge project, at NASCC: The Steel Conference, in San Antonio this past March.

The tub-girder method involves the use of commonly produced steel plate sizes, to make procurement simple and less expensive. One girder can be produced in about 45 minutes, according to SSSBA. The system is recommended for use in creating single spans of up to 60 feet long; multiple spans can be spliced together for longer bridges of up to 80 feet, SSSBA says.

Second PBTG Span

The first PBTG bridge was constructed in Fairbank, Iowa, in early 2016. The Amish Sawmill Bridge is 52 feet long and 30 feet wide, and exceeds AASHTO requirements in terms of capacity. It was built with help from a $350,000 grant from the FHWA’s Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment program.

Tub girder span

The Roseville bridge also uses the sandwich plate system, a deck made with a polyurethane elastomer core with metal plates above and below.

The new bridge in Muskingum County was funded by a $557,600 Accelerated Innovation Deployment grant from the FHWA. According to Davis, it was finished last week and opened May 26. In addition to PBTG construction, the Roseville bridge project used the sandwich plate system, in which the deck is constructed from two metal plates, above and below a core layer of polyurethane elastomer. The sandwich plate deck is lighter than a reinforced concrete deck, and proponents note that the decreased deck weight allows for a greater live load capacity.

Davis told local news outlet WHIZ that he chose to use the PBTG method on the Roseville site because the bridge is subject to rapidly rising and falling water with a low PH, which threatens to deteriorate concrete structures.

Two more PBTG bridge projects have been programmed in West Virginia for 2017 and are expected to be built this summer and fall.


Tagged categories: Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC); American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC); Bridges; Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); Infrastructure; Steel

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