Civil and Environmental Engineering


First Advisor

Dr. Joshua S. Steelman

Second Advisor

Dr. Ronald K. Faller

Third Advisor

Dr. Mojdeh Asadollahipajouh

Date of this Version

Spring 4-9-2021


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Civil Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Joshua S. Steelman. Lincoln, Nebraska: April 9, 2021

Copyright © 2021 Samuel E. Hovde


The objective of this research project was to develop evaluation criteria for permanent concrete barriers to MASH 2016 TL-3 and TL-4 without crash testing and then to evaluate permanent concrete barrier standards provided by the sponsoring agencies of the Midwest Pooled Fund Program. A literature review was conducted to determine evaluation criteria for stability, shape, strength, and anchorage, and a database of permanent concrete barrier crash tests was compiled. A survey was conducted to collect barrier standards from the members of the Midwest Pooled Fund Program, and barriers were selected and evaluated according to the determined methodology. A total of 85 permanent concrete barrier detail variations were evaluated. 39 of the variations were deemed crashworthy to MASH TL-3, and an additional 27 barriers were deemed crashworthy to MASH TL-4. Computed strengths were calculated for each of the evaluated barriers and compared to the boundary of optimal strengths as determined from the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications. The comparison was performed parametrically from a range of vertical and horizontal barrier flexural strength combinations. Significant strength overdesign was commonly observed throughout the details provided by the sponsoring agencies, suggesting that agencies could potentially reduce costs for many standard barrier configurations by reducing steel reinforcement.

Advisor: Joshua S. Steelman