The Development of GFRP Bridge Deck Modules

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Williams, Brea Kelly
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The highway infrastructure industry must meet a critical demand for the repair or replacement of thousands of bridge decks. These decks are reaching the end of their service lives and are suffering the effects of cracking and spalling concrete and corroding steel reinforcement. This project investigates the replacement of these bridge decks with glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) deck modules. These innovative modules offer lightweight, ease of installation and durability. Wardrop Engineering Inc. designed prototype GFRP decks modules, which were then fabricated by Faroex Ltd. These were tested under a simulated truck wheel load to failure. All modules in this test phase surpassed the required AASHTO HS30 design truck loading for which they were designed. Based on the promising results from the prototype specimens, full-scale specimens were produced. These specimens incorporated several design changes intended to improve their behaviour over the prototype modules. These modules performed well, demonstrating enhanced load capacity and stiffness. An analytical model was also developed to predict the load-deflection behaviour of the decks in service load ranges. Measured behaviour appears to agree well with that predicted by the model.