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Section 7: Pretensioned Concrete Spread Slab Beams

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Use Class H concrete with a minimum fci ́ = 4.0 ksi and fc ́ = 5.0 ksi and a maximum fci ́ = 6.0 ksi and fc ́ = 8.5 ksi.

Use prestressing strand with a specified tensile strength, fpu of 270 ksi.

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Geometric Constraints

The maximum skew angle for spread slab beam bridges is 30° without modification to standard drawings.

Target slab overhangs at 0 ft. past beam edge. Minimal overhangs to accommodate roadway curvature are acceptable.

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Structural Analysis

Beams designs must meet the following requirements:

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  • Distribute the weight of one railing to no more than three beams, applied to the composite cross section.
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  • Use section properties given on the Prestressed Decked Slab Beams standard drawings.
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  • Composite section properties may be calculated assuming the beam and composite slab have the same modulus of elasticity (for beams with fc ́ < 8.5 ksi). When determining section properties, do not include haunch concrete placed on top of the beam. Section properties based on final beam and slab modulus of elasticity may also be used; however, this design assumption must be noted on the plans.
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  • Live load distribution factors for shear and moment are available from the Bridge Division.
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  • The live load used to design the exterior beam must never be less than the live load used to design an interior beam.
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  • Do not take the live load distribution factor for moment or shear as less than the number of lanes divided by the number of girders, including the multiple presence factor per Article
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  • When prestressed concrete deck panels or stay-in-place metal forms are allowed, design the beam using the basic slab thickness.
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Design Criteria

Standard beam designs must meet the following requirements:

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  • Add and debond strands in the order shown on the PSBND standard drawings.
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  • Debond strands in 3-ft. increments at beam ends if necessary to control stresses at release.
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  • Debonded strands must conform to Article except as noted below:
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    • Debond no more than 75% of the total number of strands.
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    • Debond no more than 75% of the number of strands in that row.
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    • The maximum debonding length is the lesser of: (a) one-half the span length minus the maximum development length; (b) 0.2 times the beam length; or (c) 15 ft.
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    • Not more than 75% of the debonded strands, or 10 strands, whichever is greater, shall have the debonding terminated at any section, where section is defined as an increment (e.g., 3 feet, 6 feet, 9 feet).
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  • Calculate required stirrup spacing for #4 Grade 60 bars according to the Article 5.7. Change stirrup spacing as shown on relevant standard drawings, only if analysis indicates the inadequacy of the standard design.
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  • TxDOT standard slab beams satisfy Article 5.7.4 and Article
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  • Compute deflections due to slab weight and composite dead loads assuming the beam and slab to have the same modulus of elasticity. Assume Ec = 5,000 ksi for beams with fc ́ < 8.5 ksi. Show predicted slab deflections on the plans even though field experience indicates actual deflections are generally less than predicted. Use the deflection due to slab weight only times 0.8 for calculating haunch depth.
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  • See Section 4, Pretensioned Concrete I-Girders for other design criteria.


Modify standard drawings for slab beams by extending composite steel (Bars H) above the top of the beams to reflect use of 8.5 in. thick decks. The standard drawings base their composite steel extension on use of 5 in. thick decks required for adjacently framed slab beams.

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