The National Academies

SHRP 2 R19(A) [Completed]

Bridges for Service Life beyond 100 Years: Innovative Systems, Subsystems, and Components

  Project Data
Funds: $1,999,637
Research Agency: University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Principal Investigator: Atorod Azizinamini
Effective Date: 12/21/2007
Completion Date: 12/31/2013

Project snapshot. More details below.

(Project Number)
Impact on Practice
Product Status

The Service Life Design Guide is a new reference volume that addresses design, fabrication, construction, operation, maintenance, repair, and replacement issues for both new and existing bridges. The Guide provides information and procedures to systematically design new and existing bridges for the service life and durability. It includes a framework for service life design and has 11 chapters, and 7 appendices each devoted to a certain bridge part or aspect of the service life design process.
Addressing the service life of every bridge component at the design stage ensures that the overall structure can be maintained to reach a design life of 100 years. The Guide equips designers to design longer-lasting bridge components that are easier to inspect and are better suited to their environment—factors that reduce maintenance, lane closures, and work zones.
The Design Guide for Bridges for Service Life is available at www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/168760.aspx. The final report is available at https://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/169729.aspx. The Guide will be further developed to incorporate additional chapters and practical examples, and will likely be published by AASHTO.

Staff Responsibility: Jerry DiMaggio

As limited resources demand extending the service life of existing and new bridges, designing for service life is gaining importance. Providing safety for the public by having adequate strength for constructed facilities has been the cornerstone of the framework used by engineers for bridge design. Significant changes to our contemporary bridge design specifications have also been mainly related to strength issues. The transitions from allowable stress design (ASD) to load factor design (LFD), and more recently to the load and resistance factor design (LRFD), reflect this line of thinking. Several individual solutions exist for improving service life, maintenance plans, retrofit or replacement plans, bridge management, and life-cycle cost analysis; but there has not been a systematic approach to designing for service life.

The objective of this project was to improve existing systems, subsystems, and components that historically limit the service life of bridges, and to identify and prove promising concepts for alternative systems, subsystems, and components.

The major product of this research is the Design Guide for Bridges for Service Life. The Guide provides information about and defines procedures for systematically designing for service life and durability for both new and existing bridges. The cost of addressing service life issues at the design stage is significantly lower than taking maintenance and preservation actions while the bridge is in service. The guide is primarily for bridges with spans of less than about 300 ft. However, the framework is general and can be adapted and customized for major and complex bridges, including those with much longer spans. It can also be adapted to suit bridges located in any region within the United States, recognizing that while the framework remains the same for all bridges, the resulting details for service life could be significantly different.

Project Status: This project is complete.

Product Availability: A prepublication draft of Design Guide for Bridges for Service Life was released in April 2013.  It is available as an Adobe PDF.  A prepublication draft of the final report, Bridges for Service Life Beyond 100 Years: Innovative Systems, Subsystems, and Componentswas released in October 2013.  It is available as an Adobe PDF.  A fact sheet and project brief are also available.



This page was last modified on December 31, 2013.

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