To date there have been few investigations of the substructures in low-volume road (LVR) bridges. Steel sheet piling has the potential to provide an economical alternative to concrete bridge abutments, but it needs investigation with regard to vertical and lateral load resistance, construction methods, and performance monitoring.
The objectives of this project were to develop a design approach for sheet pile bridge abutments for short-span low-volume bridges, formulate an instrumentation and monitoring plan to evaluate performance of sheet pile abutment systems, and understand the cost and construction effort associated with building the sheet pile bridge abutment demonstration project.
Three demonstration projects (Boone, Blackhawk, and Tama Counties) were selected for the design, construction, and monitoring of sheet pile abutment bridges. Each site was unique and required site-specific design and instrumentation monitoring.
The key findings from this study include the following:
(1) sheet pile abutment bridges provide an effective solution for LVR bridges.
(2) the measured stresses and deflection were different from the assumed where the differences reflect conservatism in the design and the complex field conditions.
(3) additional research is needed to optimize the design.
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