Experimental and Analytical Investigation of Full-depth Precast Deck Panels on Prestressed I-girders

Report No: 09-CR4

Published in 2008

About the report:

A bridge with precast bridge deck panels was built at the Virginia Tech Structures Laboratory to examine constructability issues, creep and shrinkage behavior, and strength and fatigue performance of transverse joints, different types of shear connectors, and different shear pocket spacings. The bridge consisted of two AASHTO type II girders, 40 ft long and simply supported, and five precast bridge deck panels. Two of the transverse joints were epoxied male-female joints and the other two transverse joints were grouted female-female joints. Two different pocket spacings were studied: 4 ft pocket spacing and 2 ft pocket spacing. Two different shear connector types were studied: hooked reinforcing bars and a new shear stud detail that can be used with concrete girders. The construction process was well documented. The changes in strain in the girders and deck were examined and compared to a finite element model to examine the effects of differential creep and shrinkage. After the finite element model verification study, the model was used to predict the long-term stresses in the deck and determine if the initial level of post-tensioning was adequate to keep the transverse joints in compression throughout the estimated service life of the bridge. Cyclic loading tests and flexural strength tests were performed to examine performance of the different pocket spacings, shear connector types and transverse joint configurations. A finite element study examined the performance of the AASHTO LRFD shear friction equation for the design of the horizontal shear connectors. The initial level of post-tensioning in the bridge was adequate to keep the transverse joints in compression throughout the service life of the bridge. Both types of pocket spacings and shear connectors performed exceptionally well. The AASHTO LRFD shear friction equation was shown to be applicable to deck panel systems and was conservative for determining the number of shear connectors required in each pocket. A recommended design and detailing procedure were developed for the shear connectors and shear pockets.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Sean Robert Sullivan, Carin L. Roberts-Wollmann, Michael C. Brown, Ph.D., P.E.

Last updated: November 23, 2023

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