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Research and Development

Bridge construction honors

Karl Barth and team working on concrete specimen

Photos by Paige Nesbit

A cost-effective bridge construction system developed by researchers at West Virginia University has won an award for technological advancement from the National Steel Bridge Alliance.

Karl Barth, Samples Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and his former doctoral student, Greg Michaelson, now an assistant professor in the Weisberg Division of Engineering at Marshall University, were recognized for their work on a folded steel gate girder bridge in Muskingum County, Ohio. The researchers created a new type of tub girder that requires less fabrication and installation time than conventional bridge systems. The pair worked in conjunction with the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance.

The solution, which SSSBA estimates can account for as much as a 50 percent reduction in fabrication costs compared to other traditional plate girder systems, saved the community from a lengthy closure. The technique has been deployed on two bridges since 2016. Barth noted that two additional projects are currently under way in West Virginia with others planned in several states.