A bridge to a new century

Technology and its impact on the design and construction of bridges is the focal point of the 1999 International Bridge Conference; Louisiana bridges to be featured

Bridges Article December 28, 2000
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Fiber-reinforced polymer composites and high-performance concrete mixed with a dash of Cajun spice is a recipe for success at the 16th Annual International Bridge Conference (IBC) in Pittsburgh, June 14-16.

Recent technological advancements in materials such as composites, longer-lasting concrete and high-performance steel are leading to their use in the bridge field. Always seeking better ways to build bridges using these new tools, inventive structural engineers from throughout the world will gather at the conference to discuss new design and construction methods.

Conference officials expect to draw 1,100 exhibitors from more than 25 states and 12 countries to the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel for the event. In addition to the three-day conference program, more than 50 exhibitors, including ROADS & BRIDGES, will be on hand to show their products and services to the government officials and members of academia in attendance.

Intensive seminars designed specifically for engineers are planned Monday through Thursday. Topics will include GIS Applications for Bridge Management and Load and Resistance Factor Design. On Tuesday, a special interest session on coatings will be presented in morning and afternoon sections. The morning part of the session will consist of presentations concerning the impact of federal funding on bridge painting in the next five years. The session will cover new construction (shop painting); maintenance (field painting); and research and development. The afternoon session will feature presentations on major technical advances of the recent past and future expectations.

A look at Louisiana

Bridge design in the Pelican State of Louisiana will receive special examination on Monday, June 14, as this year’s featured state. Kam K. Movassaghi, Ph.D., secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will begin the look at bridges in the bayou country with an overview of the state’s infrastructure program during Monday morning’s keynote session. That afternoon, eight presentations will be devoted to bridge engineering in the state.

According to the department’s Francisco Gudiel, the structural staff has been working for several months in preparation for the conference.

The run down of topics includes:

• I-310 End On Construction: Before, During and After Construction;

• NCHRP-350: Bridge Rail, Past and Present;

• Chalmette-Algiers Mississippi River Bridge: Locating a “Gateway” Bridge in the New Orleans Area;

• High-Performance Concrete Bridge Construction in Louisiana;

• Louisiana Soils and Geotechnical Consideration for Design;

• Caisson Foundations for Bridge Piers in Louisiana Waterways;

• Vessel Collision Vulnerability of Bridges: Louisiana’s Role and Perspective; and

• Greater New Orleans Mississippi River Bridge Corridor: 1970 to 2000 and Beyond.

Funding, innovation and aesthetics are the focus of the Monday morning keynote session. Since last June’s IBC, the industry witnessed the passage of a new federal surface transportation funding act, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) (see Bridge Industry Buoyed by TEA-21, August 1998, p 44). The act allocates $20.4 billion for the Bridge Program, a 25%increase in funding over the previous six-year act. In his presentation, TEA-21: What It Means to You, Vincent Schimmoller, P.E., program manager in the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Infrastructure will provide a summary of the act as it pertains to the bridge sector.

Frieder Seible, Ph.D., P.E., professor and chair of the Division of Structural Engineering at the University of California at San Diego, will discuss the merits of using fiber-reinforced polymer composites for the renewal of bridge infrastructure. A discussion of beauty concludes the morning session with a presentation by Holger S. Svensson, managing director and CEO of Leonhardt, Andra and Partner, GmbH, on aesthetic aspects of large bridges.

Days two and three

Tuesday sessions are divided into three categories: long-span bridges, innovation and design. Cable-stayed projects such as Georgia’s Sidney Lanier Bridge and Korea’s Seohae Grand Cable-Stayed Bridge will be examined, as well as use of finite element analysis in the design of effective slab width for composite cable-stayed bridges. The design of the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and its cable-stayed alternative commands two presentations during the session (see Suspension Design Approved for East Span of San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, July 1998, p 18 and New Bridge Projects Span the Nation, November 1998, p 26).

Fiber-reinforced polymer composite bridges dominate the innovations sessions on Tuesday with five of the seven sessions dealing with the subject. Use of the material on a new bridge in Kentucky, a rehab project and a column wrap demo project in New York and on a substructure in Delaware are to be discussed.

In the design category, an array of subjects is on the agenda. The session will review the proposed American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Manual for Load and Resistance Factor Evaluation of Bridges. Other topics will include design-build in New York City, cost-effectiveness of narrowed box girder bridges, covered bridge replacement, jointless bridges for design improvements, New Jersey’s first steel monocell box girder for vehicular bridges and a look at Boston’s Central Artery Project (see Infrastructure Goes Under the Knife, March 1999, p 36).

A full slate of five technical sessions is on the agenda for Wednesday in the areas of rehabilitation and strengthening, design, foundations and seismic, construction and testing.

Presentations in rehabilitation and strengthening will cover the strengthening of an over-water concrete aircraft bridge deck under active airport operations; rehab of the Queensboro Bridge; efforts to prolong the serviceability of deteriorated portions of New York’s Williamsburg Bridge; widening and rehab at the Hampton Roads Bridge; seismic retrofits for existing bearings; fatigue retrofit of interchange structures; and jointless decks for continuous bridge trusses.

The design session will examine the use of high-performance lightweight concrete on Norway’s Raftsundet Bridge; a new cable-stayed bridge concept for skewed crossings and the design of river piers for the second Peace Bridge. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear about the winning design for Washington, D.C.’s new Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement project. Maine’s use of a unique design-build selection process in the building of the longest span precast segmental bridge will be discussed along with a general discussion of bridge type selection for major bridges by the New Jersey DOT. Officials will explain why the Boston Central Artery Project’s interchanges are looked upon as the key to the success of the mega project.

The Central Artery is looked at again in the foundations and seismic session with a look at the design and construction of a portion of the project’s pile foundations. Seismic design of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge’s new east bay suspension span will be highlighted along with New York City’s new seismic design criteria guidelines for the new millennium and an update on seismic retrofit in the Big Apple.

The construction session will review work on the East Fork White River Cable-Stayed Bridge; Chicago’s Damen Avenue Arch; and Pennsylvania’s post-tensioned integral concrete pier caps.

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