The state’s first bridge constructed of glass fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) will officially open to travelers on Wednesday, Feb. 22, in Greene County.
Bridge 14802301, a 73-year-old bridge located on Farm Road 148 in Springfield, Mo., was closed last fall due to structural and functional inadequacy. Great River Engineering, a Springfield firm hired by Greene County to evaluate the bridge’s substructure, found the old bridge’s deck was heavily degradated, and the steel beams corroded and covered in lead paint.
A new bridge and guardrail system was developed in a cooperative effort between the University of Missouri-Rolla, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Strongwell Corp. and Hughes Brothers Inc.
The replacement bridge, funded with a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, combines the corrosion resistance of FRP internal reinforcement with the speed of installation of stay-in-place modular FRP panels. This new technique promises to benefit bridge owners by minimizing maintenance costs and reducing disruption of traffic during construction.
Dr. Antonio Nanni, the Vernon and Maralee Jones Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, is leading UMR’s research into how composite materials can be used to rehabilitate existing structures, as well as to construct new bridges.
The project research and development work and transition to the field application was coordinated by Fabio Matta, a doctoral student in structural engineering at UMR.
U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt and staff members from the offices of Sens. Jim Talent and Kit Bond are expected to attend Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony. Several UMR representatives will also be on hand, including Chancellor John F. Carney III; Dr. Robert Mitchell, dean of the School of Engineering; Dr. Wayne Huebner, vice provost of research and sponsored programs; and UMR graduate Vernon Jones, the benefactor of Nanni’s professorship.
The project has also been selected as one of the two finalists for the 2006 CERF Pankow Award for Innovation. The winner will be announced April 26 at the OPAL Award Ceremony in Washington, DC.