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Mid-America Transportation Center

NDOR design aids of NU-I Grider Bridges

Final Report
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  • Principal Investigator: George Morcous ( 402-554-0571)
  • Project Status
    Precast prestressed concrete I-Girder bridges have become the most dominant bridge system in the United States. In the early design stages, preliminary design becomes a vital first step in designing an economical bridge. Within the state of Nebraska, the two standard precast prestressed products used are Inverted Tee (IT) girders and University of Nebraska (NU) I girders. In the early 1990s, Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR) developed design charts for NU-I girders in order to assist in member selection and preliminary design. In 2004, design charts were developed for IT girders. However, the NU-I girder charts have since become obsolete because they were developed for low strength concrete (6 ksi) and 0.5 inch prestressing strands. In addition, the charts were based off of American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standard specifications. Since then, NDOR has adopted AASHTO Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) specifications for superstructure design and the Threaded Rod (TR) continuity systems in their standard practice. Therefore, the new design charts are based on the latest AASHTO LRFD Specifications for superstructure design and NDOR Bridge Operations, Policies, and Procedures (BOPP manual). With the increasing use of 0.6 and 0.7 inch diameter strands as well as increasing concrete strengths, there is a need for new preliminary design charts for NU-I girders. The new design aids provide bridge designers with different alternatives of girder section size (from NU900 to NU2000), girder sp acing (from 6-12 ft), prestressing strands (up to 60), prestressing strand diameter (from 0.6 to 0.7 inch), and compressive strength of concrete (from 8 ksi to 15 ksi). Two sets of design charts are developed to cover simple span and two-span continuous bridges. Each set contains two different types of charts: summary charts and detailed charts. Summary charts give designers the largest possible span length allowed given girder spacing, concrete strength, and NU-I girder sections. Detailed charts give designers the minimum number of prestressing strands required given girder spacing, span length, and concrete strength. Both sets of charts provide designers with the limit state that controls the design. If needed, this allows the design to be optimized in an efficient manner.