About the research
In 2018, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) constructed a pair of side-by-side bridges on TH 169 over Elm Creek, with glass fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) reinforcement used in one deck and conventional epoxy-coated steel reinforcement used in the other. To understand the behavior of GFRP reinforcement and compare the performance and durability of the GFRP- and steel-reinforced decks, the following efforts were undertaken: (1) collect structural behavior information and response characteristics of the two bridge decks under service loads; (2) examine the short- and long-term performance characteristics of the two bridge decks; and (3) assess the advantages of using non-conventional, corrosion-resistant deck reinforcement. From the outcome of this four-year monitoring program, both bridge decks behaved similar to each other and as expected. The GFRP-reinforced deck showed no unusual behavior or sign of deterioration compared to the steel-reinforced deck. Although similar patterns of surface and full-depth cracks were observed in both decks, the structural integrity of both bridges was found to be consistent with design specifications. The short- and long-term comparison of the decks indicated that the use of GFRP bars can be a promising alternative in bridge deck reinforcement.