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Approach slab pavement at integral abutment (I-A) bridges are prone to settlement and cracking, which has been long recognized by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). A commonly recommended solution is to integrally attach the approach slab to the bridge abutment. This study sought to supplement a previous project by instrumenting, monitoring, and analyzing the behavior of an approach slab tied to a integral abutment bridge. The primary objective of this investigation was to evaluate the performance of the approach slab. To satisfy the research needs, the project scope involved reviewing a similar previous study, implementing a health monitoring system on the approach slab, interpreting the data obtained during the evaluation, and conducting periodic visual inspections of the bridge and approach slab. Based on the information obtained from the testing, the following general conclusions were made: the integral connection between the approach slab and the bridge appears to function well with no observed distress at this location and no relative longitudinal movement measured between the two components; the measured strains in the approach slabs indicate a force exists at the expansion joint and should be taken into consideration when designing both the approach slab and the bridge and the observed responses generally followed an annual cyclic and/or short term cyclic pattern over time; the expansion joint at one side of the approach slab does not appear to be functioning as well as elsewhere; much larger frictional forces were observed in this study compared to the previous study.

Report Number

InTrans Project 08-335

Granting Agencies

Iowa Department of Transportation (SPR 0000-005)

Federal Highway Administration



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2665 KB