Anchorage of Shear Reinforcement in Prestressed Concrete Bridge Girders

Principal Investigator(s):

Cathy French, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering


  • Carol Shield, Former Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has typically used epoxy-coated, straight-legged stirrups anchored in the tension zone as transverse reinforcement in prestressed concrete bridge girders. This configuration is readily placed after stressing the prestressing strands. American Concrete Institute (ACI) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) specifications require stirrups with bent legs that encompass the longitudinal reinforcement to properly anchor the stirrups. Such a configuration is specified to provide mechanical anchorage to the stirrup, ensuring that it will be able to develop its yield strength with a short anchorage length to resist shear within the web of the girder. AASHTO specifications for anchoring transverse reinforcement are the same for reinforced and prestressed concrete; however, in the case of prestressed concrete bridge girders, there is a number of differences that serve to enhance the anchorage of the transverse reinforcement, thereby enabling the straight bar detail. These include the precompression in the bottom flange of the girder in regions of web-shear cracking. In addition, the stirrup legs are usually embedded within a bottom flange that contains longitudinal strands outside the stirrups. The increased concrete cover over the stirrups provided by the bottom flange and the resistance to vertical splitting cracks along the legs of the stirrups provided by the longitudinal prestressing reinforcement outside the stirrups help to enhance the straight-legged anchorage in both regions of web-shear cracking and flexure-shear cracking. A two-phase experimental program was conducted to investigate the anchorage of straight-legged, epoxy-coated stirrups, which included bar pullout tests performed on 13 subassemblage specimens that represented the bottom flanges of prestressed concrete girders, to determine the effectiveness of straight-legged stirrup anchorage in developing yield strains. Additionally, four girder ends were cast with straight-legged stirrup anchorage details and tested in flexure-shear and web-shear. The straight leg stirrup anchorage detail was determined to be acceptable for Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) M and MN shaped girders as nominal shear capacities were exceeded and yield strains were measured in the stirrups prior to failure during each of the tests.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2013007
  • Start date: 06/2012
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Infrastructure
  • Topics: Bridge design and sensing