Finding ways to cut down on costs without sacrificing safety is always a challenge when it comes to infrastructure projects. Engineering researchers at the University of Alabama are finding ways to improve bridges to span longer distances and use fewer supports, while also trying to cut down on costs; and they could be onto something.
Researchers are testing massive concrete girders in a laboratory in Tuscaloosa in collaboration with the Alabama Department of Transportation. The team designed and tested three different concrete girders focused on preventing small cracks that form at the end of concrete girders soon after they are created. Preventing these cracks from forming is crucial to ongoing safety concerns when these cracks become problematic over time and ruin long-term durability. Solving this problem could help bridges last longer while reducing long-term costs.