Connection of concrete railing post and bridge deck with internal FRP reinforcement

Fabio Matta, Antonio Nanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The use of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement is a practical alternative to conventional steel bars in concrete bridge decks, safety appurtenances, and connections thereof, as it eliminates corrosion of the steel reinforcement. Due to their tailorability and light weight, FRP materials also lend themselves to the development of prefabricated systems that improve constructability and speed of installation. These advantages have been demonstrated in the construction of an off-system bridge, where prefabricated cages of glass FRP bars were used for the open-post railings. This paper presents the results of full-scale static tests on two candidate post-deck connections to assess compliance with strength criteria at the component (connection) level, as mandated by the AASHTO Standard Specifications, which were used to design the bridge. Strength and stiffness until failure are shown to be accurately predictable. Structural adequacy was then studied at the system (post-and-beam) level by numerically modeling the nonlinear response of the railing under equivalent static transverse load, pursuant to well-established structural analysis principles of FRP RC, and consistent with the AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications. As moment redistribution cannot be accounted for in the analysis and design of indeterminate FRP RC structures, a methodology that imposes equilibrium and compatibility conditions was implemented in lieu of yield line analysis. Transverse strength and failure modes are determined and discussed on the basis of specification mandated requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Bridge Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Bridge decks
  • Concrete structures
  • Design
  • Fiber reinforced polymers
  • Reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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