Concrete bridges are conventionally reinforced with steel bars and/or prestressed with steel tendons. When subjected to aggressive environments, corrosion of the reinforcing and prestressing steel occurs and eventually leads to premature structural deterioration and loss of serviceability. In addition, the increasing service loads as well as seismic upgrade requirements result in a need to strengthen many of these bridges. The use of externally bonded steel plates for flexural and shear strengthening of concrete members is well established. However, corrosion related problems have limited the use of this technique for outdoor application. Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are corrosion resistant and exhibit several properties that make them suitable for repair/strengthening of reinforced concrete (RC) structures. However, the database for performance of FRP strengthened RC members is based on small-scale specimens that do not account for the variation of boundary conditions of a real structure. Fullscale field tests can demonstrate the actual behavior of a structure and can lead to a better understanding of the performance of the system and therefore strengthening design requirements.

This part of the research program aimed at demonstrating the feasibility and effectiveness of strengthening bridge RC decks with two systems of externally bonded FRP reinforcement to increase their flexural strengths as well as verify design methodology and capacity improvement. Two of the three simply supported decks were strengthened and tested to failure. One span was strengthened using near-surface mounted (NSM) CFRP rods while the second span was strengthened using externally bonded CFRP strips. The objective of the strengthening scheme was to increase the flexural capacity by approximately 30%. Each of the three spans was tested to failure by applying quasi-static load cycles. Test results indicate that the actual capacity of the bridge decks were higher than anticipated due to higher actual material strengths. In addition, the decks had end fixities that were estimated by comparison of experimental and theoretical results. The experimental moment capacities compared well with theoretical values based on the actual material properties obtained from laboratory testing and the determined end fixity. Strengthened decks exhibited ductile behavior prior to FRP failure. The short-term behavior of FRP strengthening system applications has been experimentally evaluated. Research into longterm performance should be conducted even though FRP used in highway bridges is expected to perform for a long time.

The final report consists of three volumes. Volume I depicts the strengthening and testing to failure of the three bridge decks. Volume II focuses on the laboratory and field dynamic tests. Volume III focuses on the strengthening and testing to failure of the bridge piers.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


Missouri Department of Transportation

Report Number

RDT-01-002A, RI-98-013 & CIES-99-08A

Document Type

Technical Report

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 1999 Center for Infrastructure Engineering Studies, University of Missouri-Rolla, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 1999