A method for evaluation of longitudinal joint connections of decked precast concrete girder bridges

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As bridge conditions in the United States continue to deteriorate, rapid bridge replacement procedures are needed. Decked precast prestressed concrete (DPPC) girders are used for rapid bridge construction because the bridge deck is precast with the girders eliminating the need for a cast-in-place slab. One of the concerns with using DPPC girders as a bridge construction option is the durability of the longitudinal joints between girders. The objectives of this paper were to propose a method to use a spring element modeling procedure for representing welded steel connector assemblies between adjacent girders in DPPC girder bridges, perform a preliminary study of bridge performance under multiple loading scenarios and bridge configurations, and discuss model flexibility for accommodating future field data for model verification. The spring elements have potential to represent the contribution of joint grout materials by altering the spring stiffness.

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Structural Engineering and Mechanics