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Texas Use of Precast Concrete

Stay-in-Place Forms for Bridge


Decks
Brian D. Merrill, P.E.
Texas Department of Transportation

Precast Concrete Panels (PCPs)


4 CIP Concrete

4 PCP

Transverse Section

PCP Usage
Developed in 1963
Full scale use started in 1983 when a pay
item change went into effect and standard
drawings were offered
Approximately 85% of all deck on stringers
are built using this system

PCPs: How they work

Plans give details for full-depth CIP deck


If PCP is authorized, PCP standard sheets (3
sheets inserted into plans) give all details
for panel fabrication, panel placement, and
reinforcing adjustments to CIP portion

Typical Plan Detail for Full-Depth CIP Slab

PCP Standard Detail

Panel Support Requirements


1 1/2
1/4 Min

Advantages of Using PCPs

Speed
Cost savings
Safety
Design

PCP Advantage: Speed


Deck grading and forming can be
completed in a few days
Placement of rebar takes half the time
compared to full CIP deck
Reduced form removal (overhangs) time
Can pour greater deck area in the same time
(PCPs take up half the deck volume)

PCP Advantage: Cost

Time = $$$
Form Setting
Placement of Reinforcing Steel
Less Time Working over Traffic
Reduced Form Removal Time (overhangs)
Lower Equipment Costs for Concrete
Placement
Insurance

PCP Advantage: Safety


Very stable in high winds (3000 lbs)
Cannot fall between girders
Only overhang forms need to be removed

PCP Advantage: Design


Prestressed Steel in Slab M+ Areas
PCPs use 5000 psi concrete compared to
4000 psi for CIP concrete
Excellent quality control on PCP fabrication

Typical Plan Detail for Full-Depth CIP Slab

Design for Full-Depth CIP Slab

4000 psi Concrete, Grade 60 Steel


8 Thick
Transverse Reinf: #5s @ 6 T&B
Beam in Flexure Design: fs<24,000 psi;
fc < 1600 psi
No slab design is required if clear span is
less than 8.7

Design for PCPs


Standard details apply over the same span
limits as the full-depth CIP slab (8.7)
M+ resisted by PCP/CIP composite section
M- resisted by #5s @ 6
5000 psi concrete
3/8 Gr 270 Strands @ 6, mid-depth of 4
panel; stressed to 16.1 kips

Design for PCPs - Cont.


Panel tensile stress (ft) limited to 6f 'c
Ultimate Flexural Capacity of PCP/CIP
Composite Slab
(fsu) = (Panel Length)/2D + 2fse/3
#4 bars can be used for panels < 5 long
Panels < 3.5 must use #4 bars
Standards cover PCP placement on skews,
phased construction, & flared girders

Note #3 bars

Limitations on PCPs
Curved Steel Plate Girders
Widenings: not allowed in the bay adjacent
to existing structure
Phased Construction: not allowed in the bay
adjacent to previous phase*
Steel girders with narrow (<12) flanges

Standard Detail for Phased Construction


Stage I

Stage II

No Panel here

Modified Detail to Allow PCPs for


Phased Construction
Stage I

Stage II

Header

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PCPs: Keys to Success


Panel Fabrication
Grading and Setting of Panels
Concrete Placement

PCP Fabrication

3 Plants in Texas*
Casting beds are 8 wide, 350 to 500 long
Strands extend 3 on each side of panel
5000 psi concrete required but usually get
4000 psi in 14 hours using Type III cement
Largest fabricator can produce up 300
panels a day

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Grading and Setting PCPs


Critical operation: must ensure adequate
depth of CIP and rebar cover
Must ensure that panel support conditions
are met
mortar
Must account for girder deflection
differences between interior/exterior girders
Often requires regrading of deck profile
(up to 2 overpour allowed)

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Panel Support Requirements


1 1/2
1/4 Min

25%

50%

50%

50%

25%

Differential Girder Deflections

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Concrete Placement
Panels must be wetted (SSD) prior to
concrete placement
Vibration along girder lines is crucial

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PCP Research
Test of Precast Prestressed Concrete Bridge Deck
Panels 1963 In-house study
Study of In-Service Bridges Constructed with
Prestressed Panel Sub-Decks, Project 145-1,
1970, Texas Transportation Institute (Texas
A&M)
Development Length of Strands in Prestressed
Panel Sub-Decks, Project 145-2, 1970, TTI

PCP Research - Cont.


Evaluation of a Prestressed Panel, Cast-In-Place
Concrete Bridge, Project 145-3, 1972, TTI
Cyclic Load Tests of Composite PrestressedReinforced Concrete Panels, Project 145-4F,
1972, TTI
The Effect of Transfer Strand Extensions on the
Behavior of Precast Panel Bridges, Project 3031F, 1982, Center for Transportation Research
(Univ. of Texas)

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Research Findings
Used to develop current standard details
Load transfer of PCP deck compared favorably to
full CIP deck
PCP/CIP deck composite action with prestressed
girders was verified
Panel support conditions were verified
the precast panel deck was stronger, stiffer,
and more crack-resistant than a CIP deck.

Problems

Longitudinal Cracking
Transverse Cracking
Deck Thickness/Rebar Cover
Grading & Yield

Texas has had relatively few problems using


PCPs

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Longitudinal Cracking
Can reduce deck stiffness
Cracks could expose M- steel to corrosive
elements
Insufficient panel support (mortar) has
contributed to all major longitudinal
cracking
Minor longitudinal cracking has been
attributed to drying shrinkage of CIP
concrete

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(3 1/4 per plans)

2 1/2 CIP Slab

Major Longitudinal
Cracking

1 +/-

Original Panel Bedding Material:


Preformed Bituminous Fiber Material

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New Panel Bedding


Material:
High-Density Extruded
Polystyrene Foam
ASTM C-578, Type VI
40 psi*

Minor Longitudinal Cracking

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Transverse Cracking
Attributed to drying shrinkage of CIP
concrete
Not considered to be a significant problem

Transverse Cracks
Roughened Surface

CIP Conc.
PCP

PCP

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Grading and Yield


Panels can be difficult to grade if girder
cambers vary widely - the high girder
controls the grade
Yield (volume of concrete/square foot) can
be affected if regrading is necessary

Conclusions
The PCP system is very popular with
Texas contractors
Speed is the primary advantage realized by
using the PCP system
The benefits of the PCP system far
outweigh its limitations and the few
negative consequences

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