VDOT Awarded $1.15 Million for Bridge Research
Third time since 2003 Virginia has received more than $1 million in federal program
CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has awarded the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) $1.15 million under FHWA’s Innovative Bridge Research and Construction (IBRC) program to use innovative materials on three new Virginia bridges. Virginia is the only state to receive more than $1 million from this program this year.
VDOT, through its research division, the Virginia Transportation Research Council, will use this money toward the replacement or building of new bridges in the following locations:
- Canton Road (Route 1302) over Canton Creek, Town of Tangier (Tangier Island in Chesapeake Bay), Accomack County ($400,000)
- Route 65 over Staunton Creek, Scott County ($400,000)
- Route 28 over Broad Run, Bristow, Prince William County ($350,000)
The IBRC program helps state and local governments incorporate new materials and other technologies in their bridge work to reduce traffic congestion and maintenance, increase savings and productivity by lowering life-cycle costs and generally enhance safety. The initiative also demonstrates the application of innovative technologies in the repair, replacement, rehabilitation and new construction of bridges or other highway structures. A complete list of the grants is at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/ibrc/awards.cfm.
The Tangier Island bridges will replace two timber bridges over Canton Creek as the old bridges cannot support emergency or other heavy vehicles. The new bridges will have steel trusses, each with innovative fiber-reinforced polymer decks that already have undergone extensive lab testing at Virginia Tech. They also will have precast support abutments containing solid stainless-steel reinforcement for added durability. Because Tangier Island has no infrastructure for highway maintenance, using such low-maintenance, corrosion-resistant materials will reduce the long-term costs of transporting crews, equipment and materials from the mainland. VDOT already has begun work on these bridges.
ROUTE 65 IN SCOTT COUNTY
The new bridge replacing the current structure on Route 65 over Staunton Creek in Scott County will have a precast full-width, full-depth, prestressed concrete bridge deck panel system, which lends itself to rapid construction, thus reducing traffic disruption during construction. Such precast components generally are more durable, as construction tolerances can be more closely controlled in a precast plant than in field construction. Virginia Tech will test alternative design details for the precast deck elements on this bridge and work with VDOT to determine the most effective and durable design parameters to incorporate.
ROUTE 28 PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
VDOT also will replace the Route 28 bridge over Broad Run at Bristow in Prince William County with one that features innovative self-consolidating concrete technology in the construction of the drilled concrete shafts that will support the structure. Using self-consolidating concrete will ensure that the concrete is placed without undesirable voids in the reinforced concrete elements that contain large amounts of reinforcing steel. Materials experts from the Virginia Transportation Research Council will work with VDOT to design the optimum concrete mixtures for this project.
Malcolm T. Kerley, VDOT’s chief engineer, said these federal grants “reflect on the great reputation of the Virginia Transportation Research Council and the cooperative relationship among VDOT’s Structure and Bridge Division, FHWA and the Council.”
Dr. Gary R. Allen, VDOT’s chief of Technology, Research and Innovation, added that, “Once again, this is a great example of VDOT’s teamwork and our engineering expertise that is recognized nationally, as well as our collaborative work with Virginia Tech.”
Since 2003, Virginia has received all three of its IBRC candidate projects, amounting to more than $1 million each year, more than any other state. In the last round of IBRC grant awards, VDOT received $1.2 million to work on two projects on U.S. 58 in Scott County and one in Fauquier County at U.S. 15, 17 and 29. The Research Council is evaluating lightweight self-consolidating concrete for one of these bridges in its Charlottesville labs and is working with Virginia Tech to evaluate higher-strength prestressing strands in bridge girders and a composite steel-polymer bridge deck “sandwich panel system” on the other two.
The Virginia Transportation Research Council is a partnership of VDOT and the University of Virginia and is located on the U.Va. Grounds in Charlottesville. More information about VTRC is available at www.vtrc.net