MoDOT Research Program to Improve Design of Bridge Foundations


Like other state departments of transportation, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has recently transitioned to load and resistance factor design (LRFD) methods for design of bridge foundations and other geotechnical structures within the state. With this transition, the opportunity exists to evaluate and improve upon traditional design procedures and methods to produce substantial cost savings for the agency and taxpayers of the state while maintaining appropriate and consistent performance and risk. With this objective in mind, MoDOT has recently embarked on a comprehensive research program intended to holistically look for ways to improve design procedures (interpreted broadly) for the benefit of the agency and public. The geotechnical aspects of this research are being collaboratively performed by the authors along with their students from the University of Missouri and Missouri University of Science and Technology. The specific geotechnical applications selected for the research program include design of bridge foundations including drilled shafts, driven piles, and spread footings, and design of earth slopes and embankments. The deliverables to be produced through the work include a revised design specification for bridge foundations, a new design specification for earth slopes and embankments, and several design commentary documents that will provide justification and explanations for the provisions in the design specifications themselves. Principal funding for the research is being provided by MoDOT with additional funding being provided by the National University Transportation Center at Missouri S&T and the University of Missouri. The two year research program began in November 2008 and will be completed in October 2010. This article provides a summary of the motivation and objectives for this ongoing research program along with a summary of the major activities being undertaken with a focus on the aspects of this work related to using drilled shafts for bridge foundations.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Second Department

Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2010 Association of Drilled Shaft Contractors (U.S.), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2010

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