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Safety Performance Evaluation of the Nebraska Open Bridge Rail on an Inverted Tee Bridge Deck




Karla Lechtenberg (Polivka), Ronald Faller, John Rohde, John Reid, Dean Sicking, James Holloway




Nebraska's Open Concrete Bridge Rail attached to an inverted tee bridge deck system was constructed and full-scale vehicle crash tested. The reinforcing design of the bridge rail attachment to the bridge deck was evaluated and redesigned prior to construction. With the redesigned reinforcement details, the 737-mm (29-in.) high bridge rail was constructed 29.57-m (97-ft) long with thirteen bridge posts, each measuring 279-mm (11-in.) wide x 610-mm (24-in.) long x 330-mm (13-in.) high. Post spacings were 2,438 mm (8 ft) on centers. A similar system with the bridge rail attached to the deck with vertical reinforcing bars tied to two layers of reinforcement in the bridge deck was previously certified to meet the Test Level 4 (TL-4) evaluation criteria specified in NCHRP Report No. 350 through testing according to AASHTO Performance Level 2 (PL-2) criteria. Due to this testing, the pickup truck test was the only test necessary to evaluate the safety performance of the bridge rail when attached to thin decks placed on inverted tee bridge girders. Therefore, the research study included one full-scale vehicle crash test using a 3/4-ton pickup truck. The full-scale test, impacting at a speed of 99.8 km/hr (62.0 mph) and at an angle of 26.6 degrees, was conducted and reported in accordance with the requirements specified in the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report No. 350, Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features. The safety performance of the open concrete bridge rail attached to an inverted tee bridge deck was determined to be acceptable according to the TL-4 evaluation criteria specified in NCHRP Report No. 350.


Highway Safety, Open Concrete Bridge Rail, Inverted Tee Bridge Deck System, Roadside Appurtenances, Crash Test, Compliance Test

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