Best Practices for PBES (Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems)


Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems (PBES) have been used on many projects due to their ability to reduce mobility impact time. Best practices for the casting, curing, storage, transporting and erection of these members, however, has not been well documented in a comprehensive manner. This information would be valuable for both contractors and state agencies who have either not used PBES, or want to take further steps to ensure high quality construction practices.


The main objective of this project is to collect best practices for the use of PBES, both from print materials, and via interviews with contractors most familiar with PBES. An effort was made by PCI in the past to document this information, but an updated and comprehensive document published by the ABC-UTC would be a useful addition to the state of the practice.


The following tasks will be performed to achieve the project objective:

  • Task 1 – Literature Review
    • The research team will compile all related information available in journals, conference proceedings, technical reports, and online resources in a concise and comprehensive summary. The main objective of this task is to obtain an exhaustive understanding of existing documentation for PBES. This is anticipated to include the efforts previously completed by PCI and implemented into the 2018 AASHTO LRFD ABC Guide Specifications.
  • Task 2 – Information Collection
    • While Task 1 focuses upon extracting relevant material from documented sources, Task 2 will involve reaching out to contractors, fabricators, logistical operators and others to gather unpublished information relative to the casting, curing, storage, transporting and erection of PBES. This task is anticipated to be the bulk of the effort for the project as unpublished state of the practice from practitioners is extremely useful information to add to existing documentation. This effort is anticipated to involve surveys, follow-up interviews and phone calls. Where beneficial, site visits may also be done to gather project-specific case study information.
  • Task 3 – Summary of Information
    • The efforts associated with Tasks 1 and 2 will be summarized and form a useful and comprehensive guide for the use of PBES for ABC projects.
  • Task 4 – Final Report
    • The project findings from the previously identified tasks will be prepared by means of a final report. This document will include the identified current state-of-the-practice of PBES and other key project discoveries.


Research Team:

Principal Investigator:  Dr. Katelyn Freeseman

Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Peter Taylor

Research Assistant:  Calvin Maples