Amy Shell Presents at Ohio Transportation Engineers Conference

3 / November / 2021

Amy Shell, PE, Ohio Bridge Lead for Barge Design Solutions, Inc. (Barge) presented at the annual Ohio Transportation Engineering Conference (OTEC) in late October alongside Jon Carroll of Fishbeck, David Geckle of Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 2, and Alex Kaplan of Prestress Services Industries (PSI).

This presentation featured the work of Barge and Fishbeck to design box beam bridges in Seneca County, Ohio using new corrosion resistant material. Barge designed District 2’s first box beam bridge (ODOT’s second) utilizing carbon fiber composite cable (CFCC) and Fishbeck designed ODOT‘s first box beam bridge utilizing stainless-steel prestressing strands. Both projects used stainless-steel reinforcing.

Box beam bridges are incredibly common across Ohio – there are almost 8,000 box beam bridges in the state. These types of bridges are particularly useful as single-span structures over creeks. However, due to weather conditions and the high volume of salt used in the cold-weather months, the life span of these bridges isn’t meeting expectations, often deteriorating to the point of replacement in 25-30 years rather than the desired 50-75 years. Shell shares, “Traditional steel strands are corroding at a quick rate, which causes the concrete to spall. We have seen cases in which the strands themselves break because they get so corroded. Either case results in lost capacity for the bridge.”

ODOT is seeking to identify a cost-effective solution for box beams that could last 75 to 100 years. The use of CFCC and stainless-steel prestressing strands will be compared through these two bridges, informing the future of corrosion resistant materials in the Ohio bridge industry. Shell posits, “These new and innovative materials may provide the much-needed solution Ohio box beam bridges need.”

The consultants Barge and Fishbeck also developed spreadsheets to design and load rate the box beam structures with these innovative materials, as traditional bridge design software could not be employed, further promoting the application of these materials for future ODOT projects.

The 2021 OTEC conference was highly attended with about 3,100 industry professionals.