Assessment, Repair and Replacement of Bridges Exposed to Fire Damage

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

PROJECT NUMBER

20-734, 20-SPR2-003

START DATE

03/01/20

END DATE

03/31/22

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC
SPONSORS

Iowa Department of Transportation

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Justin Dahlberg

Research Engineer, BEC

Co-Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

About the research

There is very little technical information available on “what to do” following a bridge fire. As such, bridge owners do not have much guidance as to how to assess the amount of damage resulting from a fire nor do they have information as to how to repair or replace structures identified as “too damaged.” Recently, a bridge on I-29 near Sioux City, Iowa, caught fire causing various levels of damage to multiple pre-stressed concrete girders. Visual inspection and load testing of the bridge were completed to aid in the development of a response. However, the lack of available information on reacting to bridge fire damage leaves more questions than answers. Fortunately, fire damage of bridges is a rare occurrence. However, this should not be construed to mean fire-damaged bridges do not require tools for assessment and repair. As was the case near Sioux City, those charged with making the decisions for the bridge, both immediate and long-term, are without any real clear tools to aid their decision. Research to develop guidelines is needed.

The primary objective is to gain technical information related to the evaluation, repair, or replacement of concrete girders after being damaged by a fire. Specifically, the goals are to:

  • Document the condition of fire-damaged girders by visual inspection
  • Evaluate the fire impact on serviceability and strength through load testing
  • Evaluate repair options
  • Evaluate replacement options
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