Accelerated Bridge Construction
University Transportation Center

ABC Project and Research Databases

2011 – US 6 Bridge over Keg Creek

Year ABC Built: 2011
State: IA
Owner: State
Location: Rural
Spans: Three-span
Beam material: Steel
Max Span Length (ft.): 70
Total Bridge Length (ft.): 204.5
Construction Equipment Category: Conventional
ABC Construction Equipment: Conventional
State ID Number: 7814.2S006
NBI Number: 43231
41.289753 | Longitude: -95.6620178

Under Construction

Bridge Description

Project Summary:

Project Location:

on US 6 over Keg Creek 6 miles east of the city of Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County

Impact Category:

Tier 3 (within 2 weeks)

Mobility Impact Time:

ABC: 2 weeks of traffic disruption; Conventional: 4-6 months

Primary Drivers:

reduced traffic impacts, improved material quality and product durability, improved work-zone safety


204.5-ft-long and 47.2-ft wide three-span modular decked steel beam bridge (67.25 ft - 70 ft – 67.25 ft)

Average Daily Traffic (at time of construction):


Traffic Management:

Traffic management alternative, if constructed conventionally: extended use of 22 (13 out-of-distance)-mile detour

Existing Bridge Description:

Built in 1953, the existing three-span 180-ft by 34.7-ft two-lane continuous concrete girder bridge was structurally deficient and required replacement.

Replacement or New Bridge:

The replacement bridge has two traffic lanes, one in each direction, and two 8-ft-wide shoulders. It consists of precast semi-integral abutments, precast columns and pier caps connected with high-strength grouted couplers, and modular beams with composite slab superstructure. Each superstructure span consists of six modular full-span beam segments. The segments are 7.3-ft wide with two W30x99 steel rolled I-beams and 8.5-inch-thick composite concrete deck. Six-inch-wide longitudinal closure joints filled with ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) connect the segments.

Construction Method:

The bridge was constructed as a three-span continuous bridge by combining field-cast UHPC joints with simple-span modular segments erected with conventional cranes. UHPC joints were used for both the longitudinal joints between adjacent modular beam segments and, for the first time in the US, the moment-resisting transverse superstructure joints at each pier. Prior to construction, structural testing was done to evaluate the moment-resisting transverse connection over the piers. The bond broke between the UHPC joints and deck panels, and cracking was observed in the panels. As a result, the beam ends across the piers were retrofit with longitudinal rods post-tensioned to 70 ksi in the field.The contractor fabricated the precast elements on site, and concrete drilled shafts were constructed outside the bridge footprint at the two interior support locations. The bridge was then closed and demolished. The 4-ft square precast columns were installed on the drilled shafts, connected with grouted splice couplers in the columns. The 85-ton pier caps were lowered onto the columns, connected with grouted splice couplers in the caps. Abutment steel H-piles were driven, and precast abutment stem and wingwalls were assembled. Self-consolidating high-performance concrete (HPC) was cast in the abutment cap pockets. The 60-ton modular steel beam and composite concrete deck segments were installed, complete with traffic railing on the outside segments and suspended abutment backwalls. Longitudinal and transverse closure joints in the deck were cast with UHPC. The precast approach slabs were assembled. Self-consolidating HPC was cast in the deck lifting loop pockets and in the precast approach pavement joints. The deck and approach slabs were diamond ground to final profile.Fully-contained flooded backfill was used to minimize approach settlement and avoid the bump at the end of the bridge. A structural health monitoring system was installed to assess the overall bridge performance during and after construction.The contract included incentives / disincentives of $22,000 for road closure with detour in effect per day less than / greater than the 14-day maximum closure.

Stakeholder Feedback:

Extra attention is needed for field tolerances. Approximately ¼ inch of bridge width was added for each of the six modules as they were erected. This additional width added up to 1.5 inches, making it difficult to install the last segment.

The contractor made a last-minute substitution of self-consolidating HPC instead of UHPC in the deck lifting loop pockets and in the precast approach pavement joints to avoid running out of UHPC due to form slippage in one location that resulted in UHPC loss.

High Performance Material:

High-performance concrete (HPC) for all precast elements; Ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) deck closure joints; Self-consolidating HPC in substructure pockets, deck lifting loop pockets, and precast approach pavement joints

Project Planning

Decision Making Tools: TPF-5(221)
Site Procurement:
Project Delivery: Design-bid-build
Contracting: Full lane closure; Incentive / disincentive clauses

Geotechnical Solutions

Foundations & Walls:
Rapid Embankment: Fully-contained flooded backfill

Structural Solutions

Prefabricated Bridge Elements: MDcBs (Modular decked beams); Precast cap & column(s); Precast backwalls; Precast wingwalls
Prefabricated Bridge Systems:
Miscellaneous Prefabricated: CIP reinforced concrete closure joints; Bars in splice couplers; Socket connection (in precast substructure)-(abutments); UHPC closure joints; Precast approach slab; Prefabricated railing

Costs & Funding


The engineer’s estimate for the project was $2.10 million. The low bid was $2.66 million ($564,000 = 27% higher than engineer’s estimate). There were 7 bidders. The cost per square foot of bridge was $231 compared to $124 for conventional construction in this region in 2011.

Funding Source:

Federal and State

Incentive Program:

HfL (Highways for Life): $400,000; SHRP2: $250,000

Additional Information


Ahmad Abu-Hawash, P.E.
Chief Structural Engineer, Office of Bridges and Structures
Iowa Department of Transportation