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11-02 — Best Practices Regarding Performance of ABC Connections in Bridges Subjected to Multihazard and Extreme Events

Accelerated bridge construction (ABC) practices are increasingly being used by transportation agencies to reduce the time and sometimes costs of producing, repairing, and replacing structures. ABC practices often involve use of prefabricated components (fabricated on- or off-site) that must be effectively connected together on site to function effectively. The purpose of this scan is to identify domestically-used ABC connection details that perform well under extreme event loading such as those experienced by bridges subjected to waves and tidal or storm-surges, seismic events, and other large lateral forces.

Implementation and Impact

The scan team worked from the time of the scan tour in early 2012 through 2014 to ensure that its findings and recommendations would be considered for implementation nationally.

The team announced at the annual meeting of the AASHTO Subcommittee on Bridges and Structures Meeting (SCOBS) in summer 2014 that it had successfully completed its mission. As summarized in this closeout presentation to the SCOBS Executive Committee [PDF], highlights of outcomes based on scan recommendations include:

  • Establishment of a national center on ABC
  • National efforts to develop code provisions for applying ABC construction in high seismic areas
  • Initiation of NCHRP research project 12-105, “System Performance of Accelerated Bridge Construction Connections for Prefabricated Structural Elements Used in Moderate-to-High Seismic Regions”

A key part of the team's fulfillment of its implementation tasks was identifying national champions to continue the cause of the scan:

  • SCOBS Technical Committee T-4 (Construction) has taken on the task of being the ABC construction champion within AASHTO.
  • SCOBS Technical Committee T-1 (Security) has taken on the task of being the champion of multihazard and extreme event design (with input from T-3, Seismic). In recognition of this role, T-1 representatives announced at the 2014 annual SCOBS meeting a planned committee name change to include Security and Hazards.

Ongoing attention in these areas remains critical as ABC makes deeper inroads into state DOTs and faces new challenges posed by seismic and other hazards. Scan team members plan to remain actively involved in continued efforts through SCOBS and other national committees.

Scan Results and Report

Tracing Scan Impacts

Scan Members

  • Jugesh Kapur, Washington State DOT, Scan Chair
  • Alexander K. Bardow, Massachusetts Highway Department
  • Waseem Dekelbab, Transportation Research Board
  • Michael Keever, California DOT
  • Joshua Sletten, Utah DOT
  • Dan Tobias, Illinois DOT
  • W. Phillip Yen, FHWA
  • Mehdi Saiid Saiidi, University of Nevada, Reno, Subject Matter Expert

The prospectus above includes a membership roster with contact information.

Sites Visited

    • Boston, MA
    • Tallahassee, FL
    • Salt Lake City, UT
    • Seattle, WA
    • Carson City, NV