As part of the Innovative Bridge Research & Construction program financed by FHWA, Benesch teamed with the University of Wisconsin-Madison to develop a series of innovative bridge designs, including the USH 12 bridge. The structure is a 100-foot long, two-lane, single span bridge over a waterway. Its design resulted in a prototype “reinforcement-free” bridge deck.
Benesch provided research, testing, and structural design for the bridge deck, resulting in the elimination of conventional steel reinforcement. A state-of-the-art methodology was employed to incorporate lateral bridge deck restraint through the use of tension tie bars connected through the webs of adjacent girders. As a result, the bridge deck is able to carry traffic loads without the need for reinforcement through the use of “compressive membrane action” in the concrete deck. The innovative design allowed for the concrete deck to operate more efficiently, thereby decreasing its required thickness. In addition, the use of SNFRC and FRP SIP forms controls cracking and speeds up construction time. The entire system is a cost efficient method of increasing deck design life while reducing construction impacts to the traveling public and safety risks to construction workers.