Hwy 53 safety improvements and preservation project


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Pre-cast deck panels accelerate bridge construction

MnDOT will use pre-cast deck panels on the new Paleface River Bridge. Pre-cast deck panels are built at a site away from the bridge. When they are ready to install, they are hauled to the bridge, placed on the beams, grouted and post-tensioned together. After all of the panels are in place the deck is coated with epoxy chip seal to seal it and provide skid resistance.


This will be the first time MnDOT has used this innovative approach to accelerate construction and reduce traffic impacts. The pre-cast method reduces the time the bridge will be closed since forms construction, concrete pouring and curing are all done off-site.


The substructure of the bridge will be built using traditional methods.

Innovation results in national recognition and $150,000 in funding

MnDOT continually looks for ways to use innovative construction technologies that more quickly and efficiently improve safety, reduce congestion and create high-quality, long-lasting highways and bridges.

Use of pre-cast, post-tensioned concrete deck panels on the Highway 53 Bridge in lieu of a cast-in-place deck is an excellent example of engineering innovation that will reduce construction time by three weeks and reduce the risks associated with traffic and construction safety. Use of pre-cast panels instead of traditional deck construction is expected to result in a 50 percent reduction in worker injuries associated with falsework, concrete pouring, finishing and rebar placement and tying. The risk of work zone injuries and fatalities to workers and motorists is also reduced by 38 percent.

In 2010 MnDOT District 1 applied for a $150,000 Federal Highway Administration, Highways for LIFE Grant to fund a portion of this project. The Highways for LIFE program was developed to encourage the use of proven technologies and practices that are not widely used. The Highway 53 bridge project was selected as one of 15 projects nationwide to receive funding.

MnDOT will benefit from the existing standards, specifications, testing procedures and other information available from other states that have already built bridges using pre-cast deck panel construction and believes more projects will be built in the future using this technology.


MnDOT welcomes feedback about this new bridge technology. An online survey will be sent to Hwy 53 users in July. If you would like to participate please sign up for our online project update list, and when the survey is published you will be contacted. Thank you



photo showing pre-cast panel being lowered onto a bridge deck on a project in the western united states.


A crane lowers a pre-cast deck panel into place on a bridge project in Utah.

Photo courtesy of UDOT


photo showing a bridge over a canyon under construction in Utah. Some deck panels are in place some areas are open.


Because it isn’t necessary to work under the bridge during the deck construction, the pre-cast deck panel method is useful when constructing bridges over railroads, highways, or environmentally sensitive areas.

Photo courtesy of UDOT.



























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