Researchers Focus on the Quality and Safety of Texas Bridges

Bridge Research Project Funded by Texas Department of Transportation


From left: Dr. Lu Gao, Dr. Yi-Lung Mo, Dr. Ahmed Senouci, Dr. Lingguang Song
From left: Dr. Lu Gao, Dr. Yi-Lung Mo, Dr. Ahmed Senouci, Dr. Lingguang Song

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has awarded the University of Houston Department of Construction Management and Department of Civil Engineering $59,705 for the research project "Service Life Prediction for Bridges in Texas." The UH research team includes Dr. Lu Gao, Assistant Professor in the Department of Construction Management (Principal Investigator), Dr. Yi-Lung Mo (Co-PI), Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, Dr. Ahmed Senouci (Co-PI), Associate Professor in the Department of Construction Management; and Dr. Lingguang Song (Co-PI), Associate Professor in the Department of Construction Management.

In many design-build contracts, the Texas Department of Transportation may implement a 100-year service life requirement for the construction of bridges. In addition, for design-bid-build and design-build projects, TxDOT has recommendations to improve durability and service performance; however, there is a need for better quantitative methods or codified guidance to demonstrate how the service life requirements are to be achieved.

Because there are a number of aging bridges that exist today, the evaluation of the remaining service life of these bridges is particularly time sensitive and represents a potential critical economic issue. The team's exploration of this challenge will lead to the identification of quantitative criteria and deterioration methods, suitable for including in a procurement document or manual to allow demonstration of meeting the 100-year service life requirement. In addition, their work will identify ways to improve the tests or inspections that determine the appropriate achievable service life thresholds that define when maintenance responsibility should be transferred from a design-build developer to a government owner.

This is the fifth research grant awarded to Department of Construction Management by TxDOT in recent years.