Date of this Version
For many years AASHTO provided no recommendation to state DOT’s on bottom flange confinement reinforcement for their bridge superstructures. The 1996 edition of AASHTO Standard Specification for Highway Bridges stated that nominal reinforcement be placed to enclose the prestressing steel from the end of the girder for at least a distance equal to the girder’s height. A few years later the 2004 AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specification changed the distance over which the confinement was to be distributed from 1.0h to 1.5h, and gave minimum requirements for the amount of steel to be used, No.3 bars, and their maximum spacing, not to exceed 6”. Research was undertaken to study what impact, if any, confinement reinforcement has on the performance of prestressed concrete bridge girders. Of particular interest was the effect confinement had on the transfer length, development length, and vertical shear capacity of the fore mentioned members. First, an analytical investigation was performed on the subject, and then an experimental investigation followed which consisted of designing, fabricating, and testing eight tee-girders and three NU1100 girders with particular attention paid to the amount and distribution of confinement reinforcement placed at the end of each girder. The results of the study show: 1) neither the amount or distribution of confinement reinforcement had a significant effect on the initial or final transfer length of the prestress strands; 2) at the AASHTO calculated development length, no significant impact from confinement was found on either the nominal flexural capacity of bridge girders or bond capacity of the prestressing steel; 3) the effects from varied confinement reinforcement on the shear resistance of girders tested was negligible, however, distribution of confinement did show to have an impact on the prestressed strands’ bond capacity; 4) confinement distribution across the entire girder did increase ductility and reduced cracking under extreme loading conditions.