The use of timber–concrete composite (TCC) bridges in the United States dates back to approximately 1924 when the first bridge was constructed. Since then a large number of bridges have been built, of which more than 1,400 remain in service. The oldest bridges still in service are now more than 84 years old and predominately consist of two different TCC systems. The first system is a slab-type system that includes a longitudinal nail-laminated deck composite with a concrete deck top layer. The second system is a stringer system that includes either sawn timber or glulam stringers supporting a concrete deck top layer. The records indicate that most of the TCC highway bridges were constructed during the period of 1930–1960. The study presented in this paper discusses the experience and per-formance of these bridge systems in the US. The analysis is based on a review of the relevant literature and databases complemented with field inspections conducted within various research projects. Along with this review, a historical overview of the codes and guidelines available for the design of TCC bridges in the US is also included. The analysis undertaken showed that TCC bridges are an effective and durable design alternative for highway bridges once they have shown a high performance level, in some situations after more than 80 years in service with a low maintenance level.
In this study market opportunities for treated glue-laminated (glulam) products were investigated in the industrial wood sector. The main benefits of treated glulam are through-product treatment and the ability to manufacture treated products in shapes and sizes that do not fit into common treating chambers. These attributes provide for very durable and large glulam structures that are appropriate for outdoor use. For these reasons bridges, power poles, and sound abatement barriers were investigated. These are markets where wood has lost market share to or is being challenged by concrete and steel substitutes.
The vehicular bridge market was once heavy to the use of wood. Today wood accounts for only 7% of the number bridges in the US and less than 0.9% of the actual surface area of bridges in place. In interviewing municipalities in Canada it is clear that wood is not the preferred material with many wood bridges being replaced by concrete. Further, none of the municipalities contacted were planning wood bridges. However, wood bridges are still being installed. In the US 0.9% of the bridges installed by area in 2007 were wood. This is good news as wood is holding its market share. Steering clear of high volume or large bridges, local bridges are well suited for wood as they are plentiful, small in scale, and many are in disrepair. If 20% of local bridges were built with wood in Canada this would have equalled approximately $51 million in wood bridge construction in 2007.
Municipalities are much more open to the use of wood for pedestrian bridges and overpasses. Their quick construction and aesthetics are positive attributes in this application. One municipality contacted is planning multiple wood pedestrian bridges in the next five years. However, for the purpose of this market review there is little published information on pedestrian bridges.
Noise abatement barriers are a good high-volume technical fit for treated glulam. Increases in traffic and current road infrastructure improvements will lead to more demand for sound abatement in the future. This market is dominated by concrete, but at a very high price. If treated glulam can give adequate durability and sound performance properties it would be approximately 20% cheaper than concrete. The market for sound barriers in Canada could utilize up to 10 mmbf of wood per year to construct 80 km of barrier. This product can also be marketed as a high-performance acoustic fence for residential markets.
Treated glulam was also considered for utility poles. It is transmission grade poles where glulam would best fit the market as the demand is for longer poles which are more difficult to get in solid wood. This type of pole is where wood is currently being displaced by tubular steel. If glulam poles were used in 25% of the replacement transmission poles per year this could equal 8 mmbf. Light poles or standards are another market to consider. While this is a relatively low volume market glulam light standards are a premium product in European markets.
This paper focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as a supplementary bridge damage quantification tool. For this study, a glued-laminated timber arch bridge in South Dakota was selected, and an UAV was utilized for the bridge damage quantification. A recommended four-stage UAV-enabled bridge damage quantification protocol involving image quality assessment and image-based damage quantification was developed...
Properly designed wooden truss bridges are environmentally compatible construction systems. The sharp decline in the erection of such structures in the past decades can be led back to the great effort needed for design and production. Digital parametric design and automated prefabrication approaches allow for a substantial improvement of the efficiency of design and manufacturing processes. Thus, if combined with a constructive wood protection following traditional building techniques, highly efficient sustainable structures are the result. The present paper describes the conceptual design for a wooden truss bridge drawn up for the overpass of a two-lane street crossing the university campus of one of Vienna’s main universities. The concept includes the greening of the structure as a shading design element. After an introduction, two Austrian traditional wooden bridges representing a good and a bad example for constructive wood protection are presented, and a state of the art of the production of timber trusses and greening building structures is given as well. The third part consists of the explanation of the boundary conditions for the project. Subsequently, in the fourth part, the conceptual design, including the design concept, the digital parametric design, the optimization, and the automated prefabrication concept, as well as the potential greening concept are discussed, followed by a summary and outlook on future research.
Nationwide, bridges are deteriorating at a rate faster than they can be rehabilitated and maintained. This has resulted in a search for new methods to rehabilitate, repair, manage, and construct bridges. As a result, structural health monitoring and smart structure concepts have emerged to help improve bridge management. In the case of timber bridges, however, a limited amount of research as been conducted on long-term structural health monitoring solutions, and this is especially true in regards to historic covered timber bridges. To date, evaluation efforts of timber bridges have focused primarily on visual inspection data to determine the structural integrity of timber structures. To fill this research need and help improve timber bridge inspection and management strategies, a 5-year research plan to develop a smart timber bridge structure was undertaken. The overall goal of the 5-year plan was to develop a turnkey system to analyze, monitor, and report on the performance and condition of timber bridges. This report outlines one phase of the 5-year research plan and focuses on developing and attaching moisture sensors onto timber bridge components. The goal was to investigate the potential for sensor technologies to reliably monitor the in situ moisture content of the timber members in historic covered bridges, especially those recently rehabilitated with glulam materials. The timber-specific moisture sensors detailed in this report and the data collected from them will assist in advancing the smart timber bridge.