Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Brandon E. Ross

Committee Member

Thomas E. Cousins

Committee Member

Michael W. Stoner


This thesis investigates the strength of prestressed concrete channel girders used

in bridges in South Carolina and how to improve their load distribution. The specimens

are 30 feet in length, 33 inches wide and 17 inches deep. South Carolina has 377 bridges

containing prestressed concrete channel girders and many of these bridges received a

poor load rating in a recent load rating project conducted by the South Carolina

Department of Transportation (SCDOT). The research included flexural testing of seven

individual channel girders and load distribution tests of three transversely post-tensioned

channel girders. Individual flexural testing was done to determine the moment capacity

of channel girders that were extracted from out of service bridges and load distribution

testing was done to determine if transverse post-tensioning was a promising method of

improving transverse load distribution. Increasing load distribution would lower moment

demand on an individual girder and therefore increase load ratings. From the lab testing,

the girders in good condition were found to be stronger than calculated, but girders in

poor condition were weaker than the calculated flexural strength. The load distribution

tests also produced good results with transverse post-tensioning improving load

distribution. The outcomes of these tests can be used to reevaluate the results of load

ratings of channel girder bridges in the field and possibly implement the solution of

transverse post-tensioning.



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