Two West Virginia sites showcase the use of glass-fiber-reinforced plastic to rebuild an entire bridge structure and replace a deteriorated concrete deck.
``We are trying to prove two concepts,'' Roberto Lopez-Anido, research assistant professor with West Virginia University's civil and environmental engineering department in Morgantown, W.Va., said in a telephone interview.
Rebuilding of the 20-by-16-foot Laurel Lick bridge in Lewis County began April 28 and was completed May 13, using a $24,000 GFRP deck with a pultruded hollow section on top of pultruded beams and abutment columns.
Reconstruction of the 30-by-211/2foot Wickwire Run bridge in Taylor County is to be completed this month.
A $49,000 GFRP deck was shipped to the site in early May and will sit on four steel beams at 6-foot intervals.
Lopez-Anido said the deck's cost of about $75 per square foot could drop to $60 ``if the piece were mass-produced.'' Replacing short-span bridges with lightweight, prefabricated decks can allow traffic with heavier loads and reduce maintenance costs.
The university's Constructed Facilities Center collaborated with the Federal Highway Administration and state highway officials on the Laurel Lick bridge, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and the New York-based Composite Institute's market development alliance on the Wickwire Run bridge.