Lateral Impact of Railroad Bridges with Hybrid-Composite Beams

UTK Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2012-UTK-R02
Project TitleLateral Impact of Railroad Bridges with Hybrid-Composite Beams
UniversityUniversity of Tennessee at Knoxville
Project ManagerClarke
Principal InvestigatorBennett, Ma
PI Contact InformationPhone: (865) 974-4625 Email:
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)$50,000 HCB, Inc.; $40,000 UTK; $90,000 USDOT RITA
Total Project Cost$180,000
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT12-G-UTC18 (Grant 1)
Start Date2012-07-01
End Date2016-01-31
Brief Description of Research ProjectOne of the key elements to improving safety along High-Speed Rail (HSR) routes will be additional grade separations to eliminate dangerous at grade crossings. With these additional bridges comes the concern of damage due to lateral impact to the bridge superstructures by over-height vehicles. This is already a concern with existing bridges that is conspicuously overlooked by standard bridge code provisions. The safety of passengers traveling across railway bridges as well as the travelling public below represents a major concern with respect to lateral impact from over height vehicles. Another objective of HSR is to offer more sustainable solutions for the construction of new and replacement bridges on the rail infrastructure. One such technology is the Hybrid-Composite Beam (HCB) that was developed through funding from the High-Speed Rail IDEA Program at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and which has been under evaluation at the Transportation Technology Center Inc., since 2007. This bridge technology combines advanced composite materials with conventional concrete and steel to create a bridge that is stronger, lighter and more resistant to corrosion than conventional materials. This experimental and analytical study of lateral impact to an HCB bridge will help provide data to satisfy concerns regarding Safety of these bridges. It will also help to identify inspection and evaluation methods with respect to State of Good Repair of these structures and it will serve to help further facilitate and promote the use of these Environmentally Sustainable structures on our nation's rail infrastructure.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURail2012-UTK-02_Mitchell_Final_Report1.pdf