The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in Washington, D.C., was recently faced with the need to replace the 29th Street Bridge. Composite Advantage’s FiberSPAN™, a fiber-reinforced polymer bridge deck product, provided the DDOT with key advantages it couldn’t get with conventional material. Five lightweight, corrosion resistant FiberSPAN bridge deck panels were installed in just one day on a steel beam superstructure. One day later, the panels were bolted to shear studs that were welded to steel beams and added to the fiberglass reinforced polymer (FRP) sidewalk. The new bridge crosses the original C&O canal that runs through Georgetown and is the area’s first fiberglass-reinforced vehicle bridge deck.

With rusting steel rebar, crumbling concrete and a requirement to reduce dead load on old stone canal walls, the solution was to demand a lighter weight bridge deck solution. Replacing the bridge deck would have to be done quickly due to logistics challenges associated with utility lines that ran beneath the bridge and crossed over gas, water, PEPCO and telecommunications lines.

“This configuration was chosen because bridge depth was very restricted. The bridge had to clear tour boats using the canal but match the existing street level. Using longitudinal steel beams for high bending stiffness, we designed the FiberSPAN deck within an allowable depth of five inches and tested it to demonstrate its ability to support required truck loads,” said Scott Reeves, president of Composites Advantage.