Page 6 - NovDec2021 Vol39No5
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         Polymer Vehicular Bridges

         Reinforcing the Country’s Crumbling Infrastructure

           As Joe Henry Miller, Morgan County   The occasion drew a large crowd   departments across the country are
         Highway Superintendent, reflected upon   because Miller and county officials were   unfamiliar with the technology.”
         the new low-maintenance composites   part of a partnership with an impressive   The Morgan County demonstration
         bridge recently installed near Wartburg,   roster of numerous public groups,   bridge has captured the attention of the
         he let out a low chuckle.           private industry players and higher   Tennessee Department of Transportation
           “I am very, very, very proud to have it,”   education researchers, including those   (TDOT), a supporter of accelerated
         he said of the fiber-reinforced polymer   at the University of Tennessee (UT) and   and innovative bridge designs and
         bridge that was installed earlier this   the Institute for Advanced Composites   construction techniques. “The use of
         spring. The low-cost, high-tech bridge   Manufacturing Innovation, (IACMI—The   fiber-reinforced polymer bridge deck
         replaces a damaged concrete bridge just   Composites Institute®), in Knoxville.   units, as being coordinated by the
         off curvy Elizabeth Church Road in north   Their goal was to create an affordable   University of Tennessee and IACMI,
         central Tennessee.                  bridge that could be installed quickly and   has the potential to greatly enhance the
           “It’s in an area in Morgan County that   safely to meet transportation needs in the   performance, durability and service life
         doesn’t get a great deal of traffic. But the   rural community. The privately-funded   of our low volume rural bridge network
         traffic it gets is very heavy traffic, with   infrastructure project aims to demonstrate   across the state,” said Ted Kniazewycz,
         log trucks and oil trucks crossing it. That   fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite   TDOT Structures Division Director.
         narrow old bridge was a problem,” Miller   materials as a fast, easy solution for   Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites:
         said, noting that the two-lane structure   improving the thousands of structurally
         had needed repair for many years.   deficient rural bridges in financially   Already Used in Highways, Dams,
           And he got that new bridge for free.   strapped counties across the U.S.   Railroads, Semi-trailers, Aircraft
                                                                                   Unser said that fiber-reinforced polymer
         With a 100-year lifespan.             John Unser, IACMI Technology Impact   composites products produced in the
         First Fiber Reinforced Polymer Vehicular   Manager, and Vice President of Program   U.S. offer durable, sustainable and cost-
                                             and Project Management at Composite
         Deck Installed On a Road In Tennessee  Applications Group (CAG), said that for   effective solutions not only in bridges,
           Amid great fanfare, the May 2021   more than 20 years, FRP composites have   but also in a variety of infrastructure and
         ribboncutting ceremony of Miller’s new   been used in bridge applications. “They’ve   transportation applications. This includes
         bridge called for a host of more than 80   met and exceeded all performance and   highways, dams, railroads, semi-trailers,
         federal, state and local lawmakers joining   safety standards set by the American   aircraft, waterfront structures, utility poles
         highway officials, university researchers   Association of State Highway and   and buildings. 
         and leaders to visit Morgan County in   Transportation Officials (AASHTO),” he   “As part of our objectives for
         celebration of the first fiber reinforced   said. “But when it comes to composite   sustainability and strategic planning, our
         polymer vehicular deck to be installed on   bridge decking, many transportation   goal in this demonstration is to develop a
         a road in the state.                                                     comprehensive case study for comparing

         6     TPW November/December 2021
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