Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania


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Featured State


Session 1

Monday, June 3, 2024; 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

IBC 24-FS01: Introduction
Graham Bettis, P.E., Texas DOT, Austin, TX

IBC 24-FS02: Preserving Texas Bridges
Steven Austin, P.E., Texas DOT, Austin, TX

With increased attention on bridge preservation, TxDOT has advanced several key initiatives over the past ten years to plan, program, and execute projects focused on extending the useful life of our bridges. TxDOT has dedicated more state and federal funds to bridge preservation actions than ever before. One of the key programs behind the success of TxDOT’s bridge preservation efforts is the Bridge Maintenance and Improvement Program (BMIP) which has seen tremendous growth in the past ten years. Due to prior funding constraints, TxDOT’s preservation program had been condition-based for many years. However, several recent initiatives are focused on ensuring programmatic, cyclical, and risk-based prioritization of preservation actions. TxDOT has developed bridge preservation plans for several major bridges and is investing in the development of comprehensive condition evaluations of these bridges to ensure that bridge preservation projects address all known defects. Additionally, TxDOT has established a working group focused on bridges with steel or timber piling in fair or poor condition to mitigate associated risks.
Common preservation actions include overlays, concrete structure repairs, beam end and bearings repairs, and zone painting. TxDOT forces are able to handle some of these repairs but the sheer size of our bridge inventory requires that much of this work be performed by contracted forces. For success of our projects, each of these preservation actions require capable contractors, intensive construction inspection, and effective contract management.
This presentation will provide an overview of these initiatives and the state of practice of bridge preservation in Texas.

IBC 24-FS03: Preserving Texas’ Trusses
Robert Owens, P.E., Texas DOT, Austin, TX

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has pioneered a historic bridge preservation program, centered on an engineering approach, is presented here with a focus on strategy, funding, and typical repairs. The funding model combines federal grants, state funds, and preservation partnerships, acknowledging the economic, cultural, and aesthetic value of historic bridges. Repairs involve practical rehabilitation strategies such as concrete restoration, corrosion mitigation, and truss strengthening, illustrated through case studies. An interesting aspect is TxDOT’s consideration of preserving the truss as a monument, going beyond structural conservation to preserve both the physical structure and its history. In summary, this presentation offers a straightforward look at TxDOT’s Historic Bridge Preservation Program, emphasizing funding importance and coordination. Attendees will gain practical insights into repairs, with a spotlight on cases studies of truss rehabilitation projects, positioning TxDOT as a practical model for states dealing with historic bridge conservation challenges.

IBC 24-FS04: I-35 NEX Central Project: Delivering Elevated Lanes in a Constrained Corridor
Marco Galindo, P.E., Texas DOT, San Antonio, TX; Francisco Palacios, Ferrovial-Webber JV, Austin, TX

The I-35 Northeast Expansion (NEX) program consists of five projects valued at just over $3 billion dollars in San Antonio. The program aims to improve safety and mobility, address anticipated growth in the region, and reduce travel time for commuters by constructing elevated structures that will add capacity to this urban area.
The I-35 NEX Central Project is a design-build project valued at $1.5 billion dollars and consists of designing, constructing, and maintaining of approximately 22 miles of elevated structures, including eight direct connectors at two major interchanges, and other operational improvements. This project poses challenges for the team including limited right-of-way, consistently high traffic volumes, heavy congestion, substantial presence of existing infrastructure and significant structural production, among other challenges that come with an urban mega-project. TxDOT, along with the Design-Builder, have partnered to provide innovative engineering solutions and construction techniques for the successful delivery of the project for the San Antonio community. This presentation will discuss multiple innovative solutions used to overcome some of these challenges including industrialization of structural elements, large diameter mono-shaft foundations, project construction segmentation, and 3-D modeling techniques.


Session 2

Monday, June 3, 2024; 1:30 – 3:00 PM

IBC 23-FS05: Concrete Deck Practices and Discussion of Results of Domestic Scan
Kevin Pruski, PE, Texas DOT, Austin, TX

TxDOT participated in the NCHRP 20-68 Domestic Scan 22-01 titled Recent Leading innovations in the Design, Construction, and Materials used for Concrete Bridge Decks. The scan included personnel from 18 states who discussed the varied practices of bridge deck design, materials, and construction techniques. Significant findings and team recommendations will be presented. The evolution of the TxDOT bridge deck design, resulting in a modified version of the AASHTO LRFD’s Empirical deck, and construction practices is included.

IBC 23-FS06: Bridge Inspection Program in Texas
Mark Wallace, P.E., Texas DOT, Austin, TX

TxDOT reports approximately 56,600 bridges to the FHWA and carries another 2000 bridges and other structures in the database. The twenty-five highway districts manage the inspection work issued under contracts that are administered by the centralized Bridge Division. Nearly all routine, and approximately half of the NSTM and underwater inspections are done through 25 consultant contracts. The balance of inspections are performed by in-house forces, including a limited number of routine/inventory inspections, and approximately half of combined 1800 underwater and NSTM inspections.
Currently, TxDOT uses 20 consultant contracts to perform an average of 28,000 routine inspections per year, 3 contracts for approximately 200 NSTM inspections per year, and 2 contracts for approximately 100 UW inspections per year.
Structures can be damaged from human and natural causes, have deadloads increased through such events as overlays, and can be subjected to loads higher than typical trucks. All these circumstances have the potential for causing the need for load rating bridges to determine how they are affected. Occasionally, “new” trucks, such as SHVs and EVs, are mandated to be accounted for to prove their effects on bridges. The goal being to restrict loads when needed to maintain the safe load carrying capacity.
As technology changes and improves, the leveraging of gaining new, or more easily obtained data is always considered. Currently, TxDOT makes limited use of technology such as aerial drones and sonar. We are looking to use such technologies were practical, to gain better, more complete information on the condition of our bridges. The technology not only has the potential to provide more complete information, but information that was not previously available without significant effort. There is also a potential for increased safety for our inspectors, reduced inspection costs, and less driver impact.

IBC 23-FS07: TxDOT’s Plan for Digital Delivery
Courtney Holle, P.E., Texas DOT, Austin, TX

TxDOT has made large strides toward digital delivery in recent years, starting with the creation of the Digital Delivery Section. This section leads and engages various stakeholders, internal and external, as TxDOT moves toward developing 3D project models that can be used throughout the lifecycle of their assets. This presentation will describe TxDOT’s current state and future plans for digital delivery across the department including how bridges/structures is being integrated into the program.

IBC 23-FS08: TxDOT’s Bridge Design for Expedited Construction
Hunter Walton, P.E., Texas DOT, Austin, TX

Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) designs and practices are useful to address both emergency projects and special needs in key projects to minimize construction zone impacts to the driving public. TxDOT standard practices and details are well targeted for accelerated construction and do not require drastic modification to expedite bridge construction. These details have been developed in conjunction with fabricators and contractors for practical application and construction methods. While certain innovative designs are gaining popularity, the expedited pace of bridge projects in Texas has not necessitated intricate designs. Instead, many traditional ABC methods have proven highly effective in minimizing construction time.