Bridge Service Life and Life-Cycle Cost Study Update
Dr. Michael Barker, on sabbatical from the University of Wyoming, has been contracted by AGA, the National Steel Bridge Alliance of AISC, and the American Iron and Steel Institute to collect data from DOTs, county engineers, and FHWA on the service life and maintenance costs associated with steel and concrete bridges built since 1950. The steel bridges to be considered are multi-span and simple-span regular type rolled and plate girder bridges. The concrete bridges considered will include a representative group of precast slab, box and girder bridges.
The task has been arduous and frustrating to this point as many DOTs and counties have not responded, don’t have initial cost and maintenance data, or are not staffed to support the research necessary to provide Dr. Barker with the information he requires. However, PennDOT and the New York Thruway Authority (NYTA)have come through with excellent records which will allow him to develop a life-cycle cost (LCC) comparison of steel (galvanized, weathering, painted) bridges to concrete bridges. Ideally, more states would respond in order to give the LCC study geographic diversity since steel and concrete bridges vary in cost across the nation and maintenance patterns differ from state to state. The hope is the LCC results from the PennDOT and NYTA studies when distributed to all 50 states and many counties within the states will entice them to see the value in the analysis and provide whatever data they possess. Ultimately, the culmination of the research will yield a WIN-WIN for steel and hot-dip galvanizing.