Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Nadim I. Wehbe

Second Advisor

Mostafa Tazarv


accelerated bridge construction, mid-span bridges, precast girders, precast panels, prefabricated bridge element systems, short-span bridges


The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) currently uses precast double-tee bridge deck systems for many of its county bridges because they are economical and fast in construction. Current bridges are designed for a service life of 75 years. However, many double-tee girder bridges are deteriorating and some need total replacement after 40 years in service. Furthermore, the double-tee bridge system only has one supplier in South Dakota. Alternative durable precast or prefabricated bridge systems are needed to provide more options to local governments when designing a new bridge. Different alternatives will also give local governments more flexibility to select the best system by comparing performance, availability, and cost of different options. The present study was carried out to investigate the feasibility of alternative prefabricated bridge systems that can be incorporated in South Dakota. The project technical panel approved testing of two superstructure bridge systems: (1) precast full-depth deck panels on prestressed inverted bulb-tee girders, and (2) glulam timber bridges. The present report includes the design, construction, and testing methods of the first bridge alternative. The proposed bridge system (precast full-depth deck panels on prestressed inverted bulb-tee girders) was designed based on a 50-ft long by 34.5-ft wide prototype bridge. The full-scale test bridge specimen was 50-ft long by 9.5-ft wide representing two interior girders from the prototype bridge. The bridge was first tested under 500,000 cycles of the AASHTO Fatigue II loading using a point-load applied at the mid-span. Next, the performance of transverse joints was evaluated by applying 150,000 AASHTO Fatigue II load cycles using two point loads applied adjacent to the middle panel transverse joints to maximize the shear transfer. Stiffness tests were performed at every 50,000 load cycle interval for both fatigue tests. No significant damage in addition to the shrinkage cracks was observed through the entire fatigue test, and the overall bridge stiffness did not show any signs of deterioration. Finally, the proposed bridge system was monotonically loaded to 263 kips to investigate the ultimate capacities. It was shown that the first crack loading magnitude was higher than the equivalent AASHTO Service and Strength I limit states, indicting sufficient performance. The design and construction of the proposed bridge system are simple and similar to current practice. Based on the construction, testing, and cost analysis, it can be concluded that the proposed bridge system, precast full-depth deck panels on prestressed inverted bulb-tee girders, is a viable alternative to the double-tee girder bridges.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Concrete bridges -- South Dakota -- Design and construction.

Concrete bridges -- South Dakota -- Floors -- Design and construction.

Prestressed concrete beams -- Testing.

Prefabricated bridges.

Precast concrete construction.



Includes bibliographical references (pages 152-156)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright