For More Information

Mary Beth Hueste, Ph.D., PE
Research Engineer
Major Highway Structures
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Texas A&M University System
3135 TAMU
Ph. (979) 845-1940

TTI researchers conduct bridge testing. TTI’s Instrumented Bridge is an innovative bridge design at TTI’s Proving Grounds Research Facility for spans of 50 feet or shorter. The bridge uses a new concrete spread-slab beam-bridge design instead of the more traditional Texas design that places beams adjacent to each other. Using fewer beams is expected to reduce construction costs. The test bridge was instrumented with multiple load cells, strain gages and string potentiometers. The load cells were placed at each beam end to determine how the load is being distributed. These data provide more insight into the performance and the best practices for designing this type of bridge. Dynamic load tests can be conducted with heavy vehicles, including dump trucks and water tankers, both loaded. Researchers can then measure the vertical deflections of the bridge under heavy loading. Data obtained from these tests are used for computer modeling and development of design guidelines.  The results has allowed the Texas Department of Transportation to use this new bridge design method instead of the conventional side-by-side slab beam technique, currently the norm. The new system more cost-effective, providing safe, longer-lasting bridges that save scarce highway construction dollars.