Ultra-High Performance Concrete: A Powerful Solution for Highway Infrastructure

For over 3 years, CME has been collaborating with industry leaders on the development of uses of Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC).  UHPC is a cementitious, concrete material that has high compression and tensile strength, as well as high durability. The material’s unique combination of superior properties and design flexibility offer solutions such as reduced construction time and significant improvements to the design and performance of concrete bridge elements.

CME is participating in the deployment of this new technology in many ways including:

  • CME is the principal author of the 2108 AASHTO LRFD Guide Specifications for Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC). CME worked with the Federal Highway Administration to incorporate design and construction specification language for UHPC into the Guide Specifications.  The specification is complete and adopted by AASHTO making it the new national standard for accelerated bridge construction in the United States.
  • CME formulated a concept for novel use of UHPC for repairing corroded steel beam ends.  The idea is to encapsulate the beam end in UHPC in place of bolting or welding strengthening plates.  Upon completion, the UHPC protects the steel from further deterioration.  The research of this concept was funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation and executed by the University of Connecticut.  CME was retained by the University to provide technical guidance during the research project.  The research was completed in 2018.
  • In an effort to bring research into practice, CME suggested the use of the UHPC beam end repairs for an emergency repair of several bridge spans for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT).  RIDOT accepted the idea and allowed CME to design over 25 beam end repairs.  The repairs were successful, therefore RIDOT is looking to make the technology standard practice in the future.
  • For over 20 years, CME has collaborated with the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) on the development of new bridge products for the northeast region.  Working in conjunction with the PCI Northeast Bridge Technical Committee, CME has developed UHPC connections for use in bridges that are based on research completed in New York State and the Federal Highway Administration.
  • The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) recently launched significant research efforts that look to use UHPC for beams called “Ultra Girders”.  CME will be collaborating with the PCI research team, the PCI Northeast Bridge Technical Committee and the Federal Highway Administration on the development of the next generation of high-performance bridge beams.  CME will be assisting in the development of specific details for the new beams to make them more cost-effective and easier to fabricate.