The National Academies

NCHRP IDEA 20-30/IDEA 046 [Completed (IDEA)]

Testing and Evaluation of Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Honeycomb Composite Panels in Bridge Deck Applications
[ NCHRP 20-30 (NCHRP-IDEA) ]

  Project Data
Staff Responsibility: Dr. Inam Jawed

This follow-on project of a previous IDEA project (NCHRP-IDEA 30) performed field testing of bridge deck panels made from fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) honeycomb composites. Existing methods of rehabilitating bridge decks are time consuming and create long traffic delays. Using the system developed under this project, it will be feasible to rebuild bridge decks rapidly and to greatly reduce these traffic delays. The project was carried out in collaboration with the Kansas DOT and involves re-decking of two highway bridges, each 32 ft. wide and 45 ft. long, in Crawford County. Lightweight deck panels of FRP honeycomb sandwich construction, approximately 5 in. thick with a 3/8-in. polymer concrete wear surface, were fabricated. The total weight for the deck for each of these bridges is approximately 25 kip and replaces an estimated 88 kip of existing roadbed — a 70% reduction in dead load. The decks were supported, with an attachment device, on saddles that are also of FRP honeycomb construction and designed to straddle the existing beam fringes. The attachment device is a clamp that can be installed from the deck surface. The decks were installed on both bridges in the fall of 1999, and the highway was reopened to traffic after installation. The performance of the bridges is being monitored by the Kansas DOT. The composite bridge project has received considerable media coverage and several awards for technology innovation. A web site (www.ksci.com/crawford.html) has been set up to provide updated information on the project. 

The technology developed through this project is currently being used for two bridge decks in Missouri and one in West Virginia. Technical discussions have been conducted with six other states that are interested in this technology. In 2001, at least 10 bridge decks will be installed on new or rehabilitated bridges. The FRP composite technology permits the removal and replacement of damaged bridge deck panels and the removal and re-use of bridge decks from bridges that are no longer in service or those to be upgraded. Bridges will no longer be torn down but can be removed and re-used easily and cheaply. Thus bridges using this technology will possess a large salvage/re-use value.  The final report is available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS # PB2000-108042).

The final report for this IDEA project can be found at:



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