The objective of Stage 1 of this research project (carried out in 2002-2003) was to research and identify the most appropriate precast concrete bridge beam shapes that should be adopted in New Zealand as industry standards for the future. This research was considered a priority as the standard bridge beam designs currently used in New Zealand had been adopted as industry standards in the 1970s. These designs are therefore almost 30 years old and out-of-date with respect to design codes, construction techniques, and the higher strength materials now commonly used.
A literature survey was made of standard beam usage in Australia, United Kingdom, United States and Canada along with a survey of current New Zealand practice. Following a survey of manufacturers of precast bridge beams, and three consultation workshops, a range of key beam selection criteria were developed that would need to be addressed in any future designs.
The recommendation is that full designs for two existing beam shapes (hollow core and “I” beam) and one new shape (“Super-T”) are carried out in the second stage of the project.
Keywords: beams, bridges, concrete, design, New Zealand, precast, spans, standards, superstructure