Post-Tensioned Transportation

by George Garber, Owner; Garber Floor Testing, Virginia Beach, VA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 10, Pg. 67-69

Document Type: Feature article


Post-tensioned highways are relatively new. U.S. 220 near Altoona, Pa. has the first major installation in the country. There two miles of pavement are continuous concrete panels, each 400 ft. long. Steel tendons keep each panel in compression, preventing cracks and eliminating the need for intermediate joints. Such pavements use less concrete than both traditional and reinforced pavements. They are typically between 50% and 70% as thick as more conventional types. There are problems, however. One is the need to prevent corrosion in the steel. The advantage of fewer transverse is offset by the fact that they must accommodate large horizontal movement. Access to the tendon ends during stressing is another challenge. Costs are higher than for other pavement types, but wider use of the method would also bring construction economies of scale. Up to now, the solution has been to leave gaps between slabs. More research is needed, but the technology is becoming widely accepted.

Subject Headings: Concrete pavements | Tension | Panels (structural) | Steel | Tendons | Reinforced concrete | Construction methods | Highways and roads

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