Over the past 3 years, CME’s Chief Technical Officer, Michael “Pete” Culmo has been serving as the Principal Investigator on two national research projects regarding Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC).

Both research projects were administered by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. The entire program is administered by the Transportation Research Board.

The first project, NCHRP Project 12-102, involved the development of a national design and construction specification (code) for Accelerated Bridge Construction. The project involved searching out all past ABC research, completing a technology readiness evaluation for each technology, and then developing design and construction specifications in AASHTO format.  CME teamed with a west coast firm, Berger ABAM and the University of Washington for seismic provisions.  The research was completed in January and the final report has been published and can be found at the TRB project website. The actual specifications entitled Guide Specifications for Accelerated Bridge Construction were adopted by AASHTO in 2017 and will be published in 2018.

The second project, NCHRP Project 12-98, was two-phased. The first portion involved the development of a tolerance specification for prefabricated bridge elements. Pete Culmo worked with Jennifer Pixley, Structural Engineer at CME, to develop a probability-based solution to element tolerances through the use of Monte Carlo simulations. The second part of the research involved the study of dynamic forces acting on bridges during ABC bridge installations.  The hypothesis of the work was that a bridge move was akin to a man-made earthquake.  CME worked with Utah State University to study this problem. The team traveled to Houston, Texas to gather data on the behavior of a Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT), which is commonly used to move bridges.  The team affixed gauges to a loaded SPMT and took acceleration measurements while driving the machine over varied terrain.  The results were excellent and the hypothesis was proven to be correct.  The team then developed two guideline documents for integrating these technologies into practice.  The research was completed in February and the final report has been published.  Two guidelines entitled Guidelines for Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems Tolerances and Guidelines for Dynamic Effects for Bridge Systems were developed and are posted for free download at the Transportation Research Board Project website.