December 12, 2013

Jeanette Grider

Civil Engineering Researchers Awarded $300,000 to Study Construction of Support Beams in Bridges

Riyadh Hindi, Ph.D., P.E., Director of Graduate Programs and Interim Chairperson at Saint Louis University's Parks College, and his team of researchers including civil engineering faculty members Will Lindquist, Ph.D., P.E., and Ahmed Ibrahim, Ph.D., have been awarded $300,000 from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) at the University of Illinois.

Ahmed Ibrahim, Ph.D., Will Lindquist, Ph.D. and Riyadh Hindi, Ph.D., P.E.,

The funding will support their research on the "Effectiveness of Exterior Beam Rotation Prevention Systems for Bridge Deck Construction." The two-year project will begin in January 2014, and will provide financial support for two graduate students and some undergraduate students.

The funding is awarded through IDOT in conjunction with the Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT) at the University of Illinois. Hindi said that in the past, ICT funding has typically gone to schools located in Illinois.

"We are thrilled to be awarded the funding, especially as a school located outside the state. We know that the knowledge gained through this research will benefit not only Illinois but also other states across the country," said Hindi.

About the Research:
There are many factors that go into the creation of a new bridge, especially a bridge made of concrete. During construction, beams called girders support bridge decks. These girders are divided into two types -- the interior girders and the exterior or fascia girders. In the process of pouring the bridge deck, the fascia girders undergo a lot of stress. In fact, the bridge deck takes on so much stress that researchers are seeing torsional movements (torque).These movements can cause excessive rotation of the fascia girders leading to thin decks, reduced concrete cover, poor ride ability, instabilities during construction and possible girder overstress.

The objective of the proposed research is to evaluate current IDOT bracing policies and procedures and to develop improved procedures, as necessary, to limit fascia girder rotation occurring during new bridge construction.The project will combine ideas from research and practice to develop a comprehensive strategy for the construction of bridge deck overhangs.

Additionally, the research will address the effectiveness of the current bracing requirements, recommend alternative bracing systems and identify specific scenarios where these requirements should be relaxed or strengthened. In the end, this project will result in improved bridge construction procedures, practices and policies that IDOT can implement in order to improve bridge constructability, serviceability and durability. The result will be a major reduction in girder rotation during construction thereby reducing maintenance costs for the state of Illinois.

Will Lindquist, Ph.D.,Riyadh Hindi, Ph.D., P.E., Ahmed Ibrahim, Ph.D.,
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