ABC-UTC: research proposals 
The ABC-UTC is asking the Industry for feedback on the second round of proposed ABC related research projects to be initiated in 2016.     
--After reviewing the "proposal" link provided in column 1 below, please provide any comments by selecting the "review and rate" link.    
--If there is a particular research project that is of interest to you, please submit your contact information on the "review and rate" form.

--If there are ABC Related research topics areas not covered please submit them to the following: New ABC Research Topic . New topic areas are posted further below.  
Ratings will be posted automatically, comments along with any new topic ideas will be posted daily.
                                                          POLL CLOSED
                                                    FEBRUARY 12, 2016
                                                          12:00 PM PST

 FIU - 1Total Cost of ABC Projects

                 Proposal link
                 Review & Rate link


 - This work is tough to quantify, but needs to be done.

- DOT's need this information to justify spending more on ABC projects.

- Agree this data is hard to collect as DOT's often don't have a way to determine actual construction costs.

- Although it is hard to tell the outcomes of this research but it has high potential to be very useful

- Proposed work will benefit DOTs.

- The impact of social media and internet to the user cost. Would it be effective to standardize some PR strategies to alert the users? Is the user willing to spend 30 second of his day to install or update an app that will keep him/her informed of the latest traffic delays and give alternate routes due to the construction stage being developed? Would it be cost effective to hire an app developer to create and maintain a site or app during the projects live (is it needed from the planning stage or only construction stage)?

- Expect the researchers should segregate their results so end users could apply local factors to reflect the individual agency's needs.

- Scope appears clear and necessary. A well-researched study of costs of ABC projects provides value to the industry. Investigators should note "ABC" is inclusive of many different things and apples-to-apples comparisons of specific types (pre-fab bridge elements and systems, precast concrete, emulative detailing, launching methods / modular transport of whole bridge, project delivery methods, etc.) of ABC projects is needed.

- This research could be very valuable. I think many great ABC technologies already exist. The real need is allowing bridge owners, who are responsible for maximizing the use of limited funds, to make wise economic decisions. There are too many uncertain numbers out there concerning initial costs, user costs, life cycle costs, etc. of ABC projects. Those promoting it tend to inflate user costs, and underinflate maintenance costs. But where do these numbers come from? User costs are, in a sense, 'imaginary costs', while initial construction and maintenance costs are very real dollars, that only seem to be decreasing these days. In addition, maintenance costs of ABC projects seem to be downplayed. We claim higher quality with precast elements, but do we really know the useful life, especially with all of the connections? Magazines love to publish articles on how fast a bridge was put together, but no one hears about the leaking joints, etc. and expensive maintenance that owners have to deal with later. We have 100 years of maintenance cost history for conventional construction techniques, but not many for ABC projects. If firm data existed that gave bridge owners an accurate comparison between choosing ABC or conventional methods, that would be very beneficial. ABC techniques could be the right tool in many applications, but

- The proposed project is necessary in order to have a better grasp of total bridge construction cost and adequate comparison of ABC and conventional construction methods. It is imperative that non-user costs are also incorporated as part of the life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) components shown in Figure 3 of the proposal. The cost analysis module should be able to provide adequate flexibility to incorporate sensitivity analysis of pertinent user and non-user costs.

- The closest decision making tool that allows for an Owner to capture, categorize, and to either include/exclude the actual dollar amounts and the "I don't know, but this is what I know based on experience" into a comprehensive rating is WMU's/MIDOT tool. Also, I've yet to seen any study or DMT that's taken an ABC job's entire Agency's resource expenditures begging from STIP to Closeout. With all the work that's been done to date, I think there is an opportunity to either start honing in on this topic in such a manner that these +/- 20% best guest estimates is as close as we can ever get, and it really doesn't matter in the context of the bigger "program delivery" picture.

- Looking at the latest quarterly report for the 1st round of research, the development of a set of tools to assess total cost of ABC projects has been accomplished. I am unsure of the need to continue this into the second round.

- The results/tools would be valuable, however it is not clear to me how this project differs from the previous project.

- There are similar tools out there but this appears to build on those and provide more in-depth analysis?

- It appears that the project from the previous round of funding will be rolled into this new project. It is not clear to me if a product or cost estimating tool was developed in the first project.

- I think this has been done. Was it not complete in the first round of research? What more do you expect to learn?

-Task 2 is not well thought out. For Tier 1, it is not correct that in the early stages of a project approximate or less accurate tools are suitable. ABC projects should be identified during the scoping of a project and designed from the early stages to be ABC. I would argue that the important public cost variables are known adequately. For Tier 2, it does not make sense to have a tool like this determine which method of ABC should be used. The duration of ABC mobility impacts should be considered in the tool not the three main methods. Task 4 seems unnecessary as part of this research. Owners can weight these variables now with fuzzy logic and this task does not add to the body of knowledge. Final comment is that the problem statement seems biased to me in assuming that ABC only adds cost when often it reduces cost and adds value. 

- Cost estimating various ABC options has been a significant issue for MnDOT.  Simple tools or spreadsheets would be very helpful.

 FIU - 2: Alternate ABC Connections using UHPC

                 Proposal link
                 Review & Rate link


Very dry bare bones proposal that created no interest in the prop.

- Well organized and detailed with a clear conclusion.

- UHPC connections for PBE, including substructure element connections, present fertile ground for further advancement in bridge construction. Valuable work on UHPC substructure connections (seismic and non-seismic) has already been done. Research proposal needs to build on prior work. Also, the system proposed here appears to be 1) overly complex to fabricate, and 2) unlikely to perform as hypothesized (i.e., ductile behavior with plastic hinge in just the right spot).  I suggest that the researchers engage some seismic experts and reevaluate the proposed system prior to embarking on any physical testing.

- Work should put more emphasis on corrosion resulting from leaking cracks and designs that are corrosion resistant.

- It is my opinion that alternate ABC connections is a pertinent research topic for primarily safety considerations of road users. The life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) of connections using Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) with emphasis in its durability and seismic resistant characteristics is where the research effort should be concentrated. 

- I believe FHWA has completed this research. I don't see a need for additional research in this area.

- Investigation of the constructability of such connection details is missing from this research.

- Appears could be a good project for developing durable PBES substructure connections that have the potential to improve field operations and reduce ABC costs. Agree with Ahmad that constructibility is a very important aspect that will need to be addressed. Note that this proposal needs editorial correction/review to appear more professional. Suggest an editorial/grammatical review be conducted before it is finalized.

- I agree with others that constructability is an important aspect that is missing. The proposal needs grammatical revisions.

- FHWA and others have explored and studied the UHPC and its use in connections on ABC projects. In fact I believe the FHWA is promoting this in EDC-3 initiatives. Might want to consider another cementious material other than UHPC.

- Before EDC III rolled out, I thought that we asked/wanted FHWA to do "Materials for ABC" and to let the industry solve our connection questions. Because of the UHPC emphasis that is already occurring, perhaps it would be better to take this project to fill the void of other alternatives in addition to UHPC? Already, we are seeing DOTs like KY and VA doing this b/c UHPC isn't meeting some of their project needs.

- I agree about the need to look at how constructable these connections are as part of the research.  How will the details that are tested be determined and how will input be sought.  Problem states indicates select designers and State DOT's.  The types chosen should be the ones that have the larges applicability to all of the states with out regional or individual state bias.


 FIU - 3: Bridge Demolition Specification

                 Proposal link
                 Review & Rate link


- Very short and bland, hard to follow.

- As a former DOT Bridge Construction engineer I feel the current specifications are adequate. There are too many combinations of bridge types and contractor's means/methods to ever arrive at a useful solution.

- Demolition tends to be site specific and controlled by project constraints.

- It is my opinion that bridge demolition specification is site specific, with very strict environmental constrains combined with the diverse type of bridges constructed in USA. In my opinion, rather than developing a bridge demolition specification the research program should concentrate on developing a bridge demolition guide.

- This was moved forward to SCOR. Please remove as a research proposal.

- On hold considering NCHRP funding. TRB AFF10(3) was the original submitter of their RNS. After extensive discussions, it was decided not to distinguish between ABC and traditional construction in terms of demolition.

- There is a need for a Guide document on best practices for bridge demolition. However as Carmen & Ahmad noted a similar NCHRP Problem Statement/proposal is currently being balloted (2017-D-17 that was HSCOBS Priority #6 of 8 recommended high priority research projects).

- I agree that there is a need, but I'm skeptical about how useful the guide can be, due to the many site and structure specific aspects.

- Until AASHTO or NCHRP will or will not definitively have a guideline or specification on demolition, this research may be in vane. There is a need for guidance for demolition, but multiple entities do not need to cover the same material.

- Nothing to add, other than let this go thru AASHTO/NCHRP. Use this slot for something else.

- Good specs already exist.  Kansas has an excellent spec for removal.


 FIU - 4Simple for Dead Continuous for Live Seismic

                 Proposal link
                 Review & Rate link


-Similar to many previous studies.

- Not much need.

- Consider combining with FIU-3.

- In seismic regions like the Caribbean this particular research effort is pertinent. In my opinion this project can be consolidated with other research topics.

- This appears to be in conjunction with the UNR research. Is that the case? What is the final expectation for this research? What is the value to the industry?

- I would defer comments to those states with seismic design concerns.

- I would defer to seismic states who are interested in using SDCL.

- I understand the collaborative effort between FIU and UNR to develop and test details for SDCL systems to be used in seismic areas. The first round was the development and now the testing by UNR on their shake table. I am unclear what or why component testing is necessary. would have assumed that some type of that was done in the development phase.
- This needs to be coordinated w/ WA inverted cap beam and NCHRP's 12-105 connection efforts somehow? What this is compared to WA and NCHRPs efforts is different and may be of value - but the connection proposed should be vetted by the industry prior to testing.


 ISU - 1ABC Link Slab

                 Proposal link
                 Review & Rate link


Along with design guidelines, solved design examples would be very useful.

- Interesting work; I'd like to see more details for the experimental test plan.

- VDOT is using link slabs and we have design details for applications with conventional decks. Designs for ABC would be beneficial. Research should include corrosion resistance of link slab.

- It would be interesting to compare behavior of FRP reinforcement vs. stainless steel as part of the research.

- The research area associated with link slab is here to stay. Emphasis should be on the experimental plan incorporating different types of corrosion resistant materials and the use of fiber reinforced vs conventional steel reinforcement.

- Link slabs would apply to any bridge construction - don't single link slabs out as if they only apply to ABC. What is the value to the industry of this research?

- Advancing the use of link slab concept in conjunction with ABC will be very valuable but perhaps is more critical for rehabilitation projects than bridge replacements. Many of our older bridges utilized numerous expansion joints in their design. These joints are becoming dysfunctional and their inability to prevent the flow of contaminants is accelerating the deterioration of beams and the substructure below. As the majority of these joints can be eliminated, there is a great need to investigate accelerated replacement methods such as the link slab. Primarily for existing bridges, the research need to: 1. Study the impact of expansion joint removal on bridge performance. 2. Investigate the behavior of the superstructure system and its interaction with the bearing devices. 3. Investigate the need for modifications of existing bearing devices. Questions and concerns about the current scope: 1. Is it focused on new bridge construction only? 2. The proposed experimental/analytical work is limited to single girder line support. 3. The development of design guidelines based on such limited experimental work may be premature.

- Link slab details are currently being used around the country for both new and rehabilitation projects (mostly rehab with elimination of deck joints). There has been previous research conducted on design/detailing of link slabs. If a need remains for further design procedures, guidelines and specifications for link slabs, it should not be limited to ABC.

- This would be valuable for states interested in using link slabs.

- I would not limit the link slab research to ABC projects.

- Link slabs work, they always have, and they are better than the alternative - so I'm not so sure what were getting out of this. The only thing I can see where we can improve on what we already know is to incorporate bonding agents such that the connection has a higher tensile capacity than what it's connecting. This isn't limited to link slabs, but closure joints in general.

- I am interested in the technology that can be rapidly constructed. I think this could be for a rehab condition that Ahmad notes but it can also be for PBES. The flexible ECC will need to support rapid construction for both applications. Constructiblity and availability of the ECC would be important to the applicability of this research. Vermont would find this research very useful.

 ISU - 2: Defect Free Concrete Proposal

                 Proposal link
                 Review & Rate link


- The proposal is very vague. I cannot see how this new material related to ABC and bridge. The proposal should give some information on potential uses, even if they are very preliminary.

-The contractor and construction controls defects.

- FHWA has been considering MDF Concrete as part of overall UHPC technologies at least since FHWA-HRT-13-060 (June 2013), but still not much is known about this emerging concrete technology. This proposal, however, appears to be too wide in scope including "robotic construction." Recommend separating the two technologies into different research projects: 1) MDF Concrete; 2) State-of-the-Art of Robotic Construction. MDF Concrete appears to require some curing procedures (high shear and applied pressure) which may be impractical for field or large applications, and appears to have some important limitations (high strength sensitivity to water), so more research may be beneficial.

- This is very vague, it has to be better defined.

- Although the title of Macro-Defect Concrete is of interest to the construction industry in all type of weather and adverse environment. As well as the use of robotics, the research proposal is very general and without substance to make the case.

- What is this research? How does this apply to ABC? I do not support.

- Not enough information provided in the proposal to generate comments. How is the use of this material going to help ABC?

- This proposal sounds intriguing but there is not enough information included on the new “macro-defect free concrete” material to give one an idea of what potential properties of the material might make it attractive for use in bridges and for ABC. It also is not clear how robotic type construction would fit in with it.

- It's not clear how this is tied to ABC.

- The macro-defect free concrete sounds interesting whether it be for ABC work or repair work on a deck. I think this proposal should be split into two subjects: (1) new concrete and its uses and (2) robotic construction. In my opinion this research is very much a materials research and so it needs to be focused on that material only.

- I don't know what macro-defect concrete is. The write-up is too limited to get a context of what is being proposed; but whatever it is, the material and robotic construction topics should not be in the same scope.

- I believe that this is a low priority at this time to support ABC. Seems like more of a materials research project.

- Pretty vague.


 ISU - 3An Integrated Project- to Enterprise-Level Decision Making Framework for Prioritization
of Accelerated Bridge Construction

                 Proposal link
                 Review & Rate link


- Nice to do.

- The proposed methodology should consider both user and non-user cost. It should also include rural vs urban projects as well as the expected life time of each project. The weighting scheme in the AHP shall include environmental, safety, time reduction (road user delay) parameters and AADT (percent of trucks).

- How does this relate to FIU-1-2016? I think there are already several decision making processes that the industry uses. Why is another one needed?

- Interesting research topic.

- This project appears to focus on constructability aspects of ABC for decision making and also network feasibility vs project by project. It could tie into the cost estimating tool mentioned in FIU-1-2016 proposal. Not sure about the need for enterprise level evaluation as I think most states will want to evaluate ABC viability project by project with the most weighted parameter likely remaining actual cost to the owner.

- The concept is intriguing however it may be a bit premature to consider an Enterprise/Network application of ABC.
- This seems to be related to the FIU-1-2016 work. Should this a collaborative effort?

- Same comments as FIU - 1

- This research statement makes broad assumptions about how the decision to utilize ABC for a project is made. This research will not have wide applicability for all states and by the time that it is complete those states that want to implement ABC will already have more mature processes for project selection. How is long term economic growth affected by whether a bridge is constructed ABC or conventional? The research should not include tools that determine which bridges are selected as projects.

- Great idea, but as we found out at MnDOT, high level processes developed by other states seldom fit the needs of a specific state.  Too many variations in planning and programming methods to be effective. 

 ISU - 4Rapid Bridge Demo Plan Review Guide

                 Proposal link
                 Review & Rate link


- Would provide some useful information but demolition tends to be site specific based on local constraints.

- In my opinion, this project is necessary, however there are so many variables to consider combined with the fact that the approach to follow is site specific. Emphasis should be made in how to address the safety of all users in the vicinity of the site, vibration issues, and other environmental restraints that are applicable to that particular location.

- The demolition research proposal was referenced above. How did this come about? The proposal was moved forward to SCOR. Please remove as a research proposal.

- On hold considering NCHRP funding. TRB AFF10(3) was the original submitter of this RNS. After extensive discussions, it was decided not to distinguish between ABC and traditional construction in terms of demolition.

- Same comments as above

- Same comments as the FIU-3-2016. 

- Same comments as FIU-3, plus let's not double dip. If we need other ideas to research, consider the RTIs from the TRB Subcommittee or redirect the resources towards more outreach activities with the industry. 

- Our current specs are satisfactory.

 UNR - 1ABC Seismic System Test

                 Proposal link
                 Review & Rate link


 -The system test should also include non-integral pier details, since many states do not use integral designs. Also, the integral designs are very slow and difficult to construct, making them not as useful for ABC projects.

- Useful for seismic locations.

- The ABC Seismic System Test is necessary particularly in all those locations that are prone to earthquakes. The emphasis should include the primary column connection and the seismic performance of large-scale bridge systems.

- This work is valuable for the seismic connections for substructure applications. Explain the value of the seismic SDCL connection detail?? Is this similar to NCHRP 12-105?? 

- This work is essential for proper validation of the various ABC connection details being studied for seismic applications.

- I would defer comments to those states with seismic design concerns.

- I would defer to seismic states.

- This work is acceptable, assuming FIU has completed the full development of the details to be used in a seismic area. I see this as the validation of the work FIU did to development a good detail for the SDCL connectivity over piers when designing ABC in a seismic zone. Somehow the two research efforts need to be tied together, possibly as one report deliverable.  

- This sounds like the NCHRP 12-105 project that is already occurring. If this is to complement their funding as a "shared" project, this may make sense - but it shouldn't duplicate their effort. If it's an entirely separate effort, similar to FIU 3 comments - collaborate and coordinate!


 - As a practicing engineer for a national firm involved on major projects throughout the country, we are seeing problems with our prefabricated bridge elements not being built in a manner that considers how the elements are installed in the field or achieving the desired material quality.  I don't know if it's a matter of more training in the industry, the introduction of a different type of PCI certification (ie. PCI plant certified for "Prefabricated Bridge Elements for Bridge Construction" ), or a combination of both.