ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/532296
PROJECT WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE THE FUTURE Sharing new technology through PCI Bridge TechnoQuests by William Nickas, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, and John Dick, J. Dick Precast Concrete Consultant The cement and concrete industries have made remarkable advancements during the past 20 years or so. The precast concrete industry has greatly benefitted from these improved technologies, and has also contributed to advancing the construction industry. A trade association or technical institute is often the entity called on to manage the change for an industry. It is relied upon to galvanize the industry’s varied goals and objectives, since an industry serves many markets and clients. Through the work of the association, a focused message can be refined, presentations created, questions anticipated and answered, experienced professionals mobilized, and the technology broadcast to the end user. A new bridge type is being offered to the design community. In a few areas, horizontally curved, precast concrete, trapezoidal box-girder bridges are being built economically with spans approaching 300 ft. They are competing very effectively on a first-cost basis against other alternative systems. Furthermore, these U-girders, as they are also known, feature outstanding aesthetic appeal and will result in exceptional long-term, low-cost performance. This article focuses on the way the precast concrete industry, with the aid of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), has contributed to this advancement. PCI is educating its members concerning the new opportunity. It is an entirely new market for the precast, prestressed concrete industry. PCI has refined the technology, packaged it in drawings and descriptions, presented it to groups of end users, and is conducting on-site learning experiences called TechnoQuests. Exploring the Beginnings The current work began in 1993 when PCI took note of a potential new market for the precast concrete industry. The idea resulted from a tour of a project underway in Denver, Colo. A horizontally curved girder was being precast on site because it was too large and heavy to cast in a plant and then transport. After casting, the girder was lifted onto the piers. After that, the Colorado Department of Transportation (DOT) continued development of the concept. They refined it to encourage production in established precast concrete manufacturing plants, a step considered important to compress schedules, reduce cost, and improve quality. It would take a decade; a Colorado prestressed concrete industry with vision; collaboration between the owner, and contractors, specialty designers, as well as the precasters to refine the solution and make it cost-effective and constructable. PCI continued to stay abreast of developments, waiting for just the right timing to promote this system to a wider audience.