Recommended AASHTO Guide Specification for ABC Design and Construction

Many state departments of transportation (DOTs) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are actively promoting accelerated bridge construction (ABC) to reduce traffic impacts, onsite construction time, environmental impacts, and life-cycle costs; and to improve work-zone safety, site constructability, material quality, and product durability while replacing the nation’s transportation infrastructure. FHWA currently defines ABC components as: Prefabricated bridge elements and systems (PBES); Structural placement methods; Foundation and wall elements; Rapid embankment construction; and Fast track contracting (not to be considered under this project). The PBES are structural components of a bridge that are built offsite or near-site of a bridge and include features that reduce the onsite construction time and the mobility impact time that occurs when building new bridges or rehabilitating or replacing existing bridges relative to conventional construction methods. The PBES have two categories: (1) Prefabricated elements comprise a single structural component of a bridge. Under the context of ABC, prefabricated elements reduce or eliminate the onsite construction time that is needed to build a similar structural component using conventional construction methods. (2) Prefabricated systems consist of an entire superstructure, an entire superstructure and substructure, or a total bridge that is procured in a modular manner such that traffic operations can be allowed to resume after placement. As the use of ABC increases, a growing body of recommended ABC design and construction practices has been developed from various research and demonstration projects, including performance in seismic regions. FHWA, state DOTs, and industries have developed their own products (e.g., manuals, guides, and tools) as resources for ABC projects. There is now a need to compile these products into a guide specification on the use of ABC. This guide specification will lead to (1) efficient design and construction of ABC projects, (2) cost reductions, (3) greater acceptance of ABC, and (4) more efficient and effective ABC applications as owners address the challenges of renewing the nation’s aging highway infrastructure. The objective of this research was to develop a recommended AASHTO guide specification for ABC design and construction that compiles the growing body of recommended design and construction specification products for PBES for ABC. In developing the specification, performance was defined in terms of constructability and durability. AASHTO CBS adopted the guide specification on June 15, 2017. The research agency’s final report that documents the entire research effort is available as NCHRP Web-Only Document 242: Recommended AASHTO Guide Specifications for ABC Design and Construction at: The presentation from the workshop: Implementation of the new AASHTO Guide Specifications for Accelerated Bridge Construction held at the 2017 National Accelerated Bridge Construction Conference is available at:  


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $370000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 12-102

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Dekelbab, Waseem

  • Performing Organizations:

    CME Associates, Incorporated

  • Principal Investigators:

    Culmo, Michael

  • Start Date: 20140520
  • Expected Completion Date: 20170630
  • Actual Completion Date: 20170630
  • Source Data: RiP Project 37707

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01543620
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 12-102
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 19 2014 1:03AM