PROJECTS OF CFC - FIBER REINFORCED POLYMER COMPOSITES USED TO REPAIR AND REHABILITATE WOOD RAILROAD BRIDGES

The Phase I of this research program funded by the Office of Research and Development, USDOT/FRA investigated the effectiveness of using glass fiber composite wraps as a rehabilitation alternative for timber railroad bridges. Three open deck sawn timber stringer bridges owned by the South Branch Valley Railroad (SBVR) were load tested prior to and after rehabilitation with Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) composite wraps. These bridges are being monitored for environmental degradation of the bond line between the timber substrate and glass wrap. The rehabilitation associated in Phase I of this research program involved the superstructure and the substructure elements as individual members, and had a beneficial effect on the overall performance of a bridge system (pile, pile cap, and stringer) as noted by a 40 % reduction in deflection as measured in the field.

Phase II aims at extending the bridge rehabilitation program to include repairing and strengthening different timber members including the pile cap/pile joint using several different wrapping techniques. The proposed methods of rehabilitation will also use GFRP fabrics on the same structures rehabilitated in the Phase I program located in Moorefield, West Virginia. The proposed bridge structures to be rehabilitated in Phase II will be monitored over a 3-year period for their structural performance including dynamic response and also for aging of GFRP wraps utilized in the joints.