Rapid replacement/construction of bridges.

Rapid replacement/construction of bridges.

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    Bridges are a key element of the transportation system because they control system capacity and are normally built at the highest cost to the system. Once a bridge reaches its useful design service life, it needs to be replaced or reconstructed in order to safely accommodate traffic and efficiently utilize the system. While highways can be repaired relatively quickly, bridges require special planning, engineering, materials procurement, and longer periods of construction time. This study synthesized current state-of-practices of rapid bridge construction methods, developed a decision-making framework for determining the feasibility of adopting rapid bridge replacement/construction, that considers issues of criticality of the bridge, contractor’s prefabrication ability, contractor’s construction management, and agency and user costs of bridge construction. The findings provide highway agencies with a framework to determine whether it is appropriate to utilize rapid bridge replacement/construction techniques for specific bridges. Based on these findings, a decision support framework using Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is presented to allow for agencies to rank order priorities amongst those assets (bridges) that are determined to be candidates for rapid replacement/construction. Finally, a preliminary analysis was performed to explore a conceptually new bridge design and construction system that may be considered as a candidate for rapid replacement/construction of bridges with similar geometric design standards governed by comparable traffic conditions and site characteristics. Major technical issues addressed in this study include: 1) identifying existing literature on rapid bridge replacement/construction techniques developed worldwide; 2) finding current state-of-practices of rapid bridge replacement/construction in the United States; 3) developing a decision-making procedure for justifying the use of rapid bridge replacement/construction techniques over the conventional bridge construction methods; and 4) exploring a new conceptual bridge design and construction system that supports rapid construction. This report provides both technical and non-technical information. Some readers may wish to skip over the analysis details and focus on broader concepts of the analysis strategy.
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