Structure and Bridge Division

Bridge Construction Best Practices
Part 1 |  Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4Part 5Part 6 |  Part 7  |  Part 8

Part4 - Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC)

ABC is bridge construction that uses innovative planning, design, materials, and construction methods in a safe and cost-effective manner to reduce the onsite construction time that occurs when building new bridges or replacing and rehabilitating existing bridges. The Coleman Bridge (Route 17 over York River) and I-95 Bridge over James River were two bridges used as national examples of ABC. VDOT has done a number of bridges using Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems (PBES) like modular superstructures, precast concrete decks, FRP decks, precast concrete boxes and slabs, precast inverted tees, segmental concrete bridges, truss bridges, precast pier segments, precast arches, lightweight fills, and Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil (GRS) Integrated Bridge System (IBS).

Report No. FHWA-HIF-12-013.  Dated November 1, 2011. Accelerated Bridge Construction, Experience in Design, Fabrication and Erection of Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems.

The manual covers ABC techniques, project planning and scoping, implementing ABC in a Transportation Agency, prefabricated elements, long-term performance of prefabricated elements, construction and design. The Manual focuses on 5 components of Accelerated Bridge Construction. They include Foundation and Wall Elements, Rapid Embankment Construction, Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems, Structural Placement Methods, and Fast Tracked Contracting.

Report No.  FHWA-HIF-17-019.  Dated June 2013.  Engineering Design, Fabrication and Erection of Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems.  

The manual provides an overview of design, materials, and construction aspects of PBES and explores typical design, planning, and construction processes of prefabricated bridge superstructure, substructure and foundation elements. The manual covers the tolerance and quality control requirements for various elements. It addresses the materials and construction related specification requirements.

Report No.  FHWA-HIF-17-020.  Dated June 2013.  Contracting-Construction of Accelerated Bridge Construction Projects with PBES_06-2013. 

The manual focuses on the construction aspects of ABC using Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems. Different contracting methods and contracting provisions that are commonly used for effective delivery of ABC projects are discussed. Various construction aspects like constructability reviews, pre-bid meeting, contractor pre-qualification requirements, hauling and staging, quality assurance, certification of fabrication facilities, and pre-erection, erection, and post-erection activities to be undertaken during construction are discussed.

Report No. FHWA-IF-09-010.  Dated March 30, 2009.  Connection Details for Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems. 

Prefabricated components of a bridge produced off-site can be assembled quickly, and can reduce design time and cost, minimizing forming, minimize lane closure time and/or possibly eliminate the need for a temporary bridge. This document promotes the use of prefabricated elements and systems in bridges and focuses on "Connection Details".

Manual on Use of Self-Propelled Modular Transporters to Remove and Replace Bridges. Dated June 2007. 

This manual contains information on the equipment, benefits, costs, project selection criteria, planning, design, contracting issues, example contract documents for using self-propelled modular transporters to move bridges, and case studies and lessons learned from previous projects.

Slide-in Bridge Construction Implementation Guide (SIBC).  Dated December 2013.

Document provides a general guideline to implement the SIBC method for common bridge replacements.

Bridge construction - Incremental Launching - 3D Animation.

Slide-in Bridge Construction Training Courses.

Iowa State University Institute for Transportation developed for FHWA six workshops/training courses on Slide-in Bridge Construction depending on the specific audience and time allowed for training. The six workshops are: Overview for Designers (40-60 min.), Overview for Contractors (40-60 min.), Overview for Owner Agencies (40-60 min.), Overview (All Audiences) (60 min.), Case Studies (All Audiences) (60 min.), and Half Day Training (All Audiences) (4 hr.). PowerPoint presentation for each training course can be downloaded from FHWA website at:

A PDF Handouts document with all presentation slides with instructor notes for all six workshops and can be downloaded from the following link:

Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems Cost Study: Accelerated Bridge Construction Success Stories. FHWA Website.

I-95 Bridge over James River is one of the success stories.

Page last modified: Aug. 20, 2020