Preservation Alternatives for Historic Metal Truss Bridges: Survey of Literature and Current Practices

Thiel, Matthew E.


It is a well-known fact that the condition of the nations’ bridges is poor at best. Surveys have revealed that up to 40% of the bridges currently in service are either structurally or geometrically deficient.

In response to the growing interest of the historical community in the preservation of Texas’ older metal truss bridges, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has been addressing each bridge rehabilitation on a case-by-case basis. To streamline this process, TxDOT commissioned the University of Texas at Austin to conduct a series of investigations to not only increase the information available to engineers, but also test current rehabilitation techniques as applied to metal truss bridges.

To complete the first task of the project three steps were taken, which are described in this paper. The first involved a literature search and cataloging of relevant information. The second was a survey of other transportation agencies to document current trends in truss bridge rehabilitation. The third task consisted of a summary of the literature search and survey of DOTs to form an in-depth collection of common deficiencies in structures and possible solution alternatives.

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