Cross-Infrastructure Learnings for Alternative Bridge System Designs - A Case Study on the Hybrid Composite Bridge System

MTU Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2012-MTU-R04
Project TitleCross-Infrastructure Learnings for Alternative Bridge System Designs - A Case Study on the Hybrid Composite Bridge System
UniversityMichigan Technology University
Project ManagerLautala
Principal InvestigatorHarris (UVA)
PI Contact InformationPhone: (434)924-6373 Email:
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)$38,840 University of Virginia internal match and/or industry collaboration; $38,840 USDOT RITA
Total Project Cost$77,680
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT12-G-UTC18 (Grant 1)
Start Date2012-08-01
End Date2013-01-31
Brief Description of Research ProjectThe existing transportation infrastructure network in the United States can easily be classified as mature, with infrastructure components that have been in service near the bounds of their intended service lives. This is certainly true for highway bridges on the interstate system, but is overwhelmingly the case in the railroad industry, which has a longer history. The key challenge that exists for both of these infrastructure networks in the lack of a sufficient funding source and workforce to maintain, repair, and replace the network. While both industries have managed to maintain a functional network in light of this challenge, there is a need for economic and practical new solutions. In today's economic climate, these solutions need to have excellent durability characteristics with long service lives, have low costs and/or low life-cycle costs, and minimize traffic/service disruption. Interestingly enough, both the highway and railroad industry are both addressing these challenges, but for the most part are doing so separately. While there are some cross-industry synergies being realized, most of the learnings are not shared between the two. The proposed study will focus on the application of the Hybrid Composite Bridge (HCB) system as an alternative solution for rapid and lightweight bridge construction. The proposed investigation will serve as a test-bed for cross-industry learnings because both have deployed the HCB system and the system has demonstrated promising performance. The HCB system has been successfully installed at the Transportation Technology Center, Incorporated (TTCI) Facility for Accelerated Service Testing (FAST) and also over Long Run Creek in Lockport Township, IL (High Road Bridge). The investigation will evaluate existing performance data on the in-service HCB system for both railroad and highway loads. Expected outcomes will include the development of recommendations for ideal application scenarios. Other features that will be investigated include the influence of potential damage mechanisms (high-load hits, loss of composite action) on the bridge system performance. The proposed investigation will culminate in the field evaluation of a high skew HCB that is being constructed in the State of Virginia.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURail2012-MTU-R04_Final_Report_Harris.compressed1.pdf