Steven F. Bartlett
US DOT, Utah DOT
Bridge approaches, Geotechnical engineering, Highway bridges, Safety, Settlement (Structures), State departments of transportation
Differential settlement in the transition zone between the bridge structure and the approach embankment often creates a "bump" which is a potential safety hazard and comfort issue for drivers. Studies conducted by departments of transportation (DOTs) around the country suggest that about 25 percent of the 600,000 bridges in the US are affected by bridge approach settlement, or the "bump at the end of the bridge." The settlements can result in unsafe driving conditions, rider discomfort, structural deterioration of bridges and long-term maintenance costs. Identifying additional geotechnical or structural means to mitigate this issue, which may or may not be employed in conjunction with preloading, is of benefit to many State DOTs.