The Fort Miller Co. and Ductal®
In 2009, Lafarge Ductal® began a collaboration with the The Fort Miller Co., Inc., of Schuylerville, NY. Fort Miller, already a Lafarge Cement customer, was interested in expanding the use of their precast bridge components by a synergistic new approach that used Lafarge's Ductal® (UHPC) as a field cast material to connect the precast pieces in the bridge. While this concept was already in early adoption in the province of Ontario Canada, both Fort Miller, New York State Department of Transportation, the US Federal Highway Administration and PCINE quickly realized this innovative solution would address many of the inherent problems with deteriorating bridges.
Bridge decks which are constantly subject to flexing from heavy trucks, winter freezing/thawing and deicing suffer from deterioration and maintenance. The cost and challenges of repairing this deterioration is further complicated by the negative impact and inconvenience to the users of the bridge during repair or reconstruction. The use of precast bridge deck components can alleviate much of the user inconvenience by speeding the construction and minimizing the out of use during repair or replacement. However, precast bridge decks historically suffer from premature failure or leakage of the joints between the precast components.
The use of precast bridge components and a Ductal® field cast joint can result in a joint that is stronger than the precast component. Ductal® has a very short bond development length and can provide a simpler and smaller field connection, which reduces manufacturing cost of the precaster and speeds the casting in the field. The result is a faster, simpler and stronger joint, thereby providing a better solution for both the owner and user of the bridge.
The Collaboration between Lafarge and The Fort Miller Co.
Lafarge and Fort Miller have been working together to approach and promote this precast and Ductal® Joint Fill concept to North East US Department of Transportations', their consultants and contractors.
Fort Miller and Lafarge target bridge projects, then approach the contractor, DOT and the consultant to propose the new solution (Precast and Ductal® Joint Fill) on the basis of improved performanceand speed. Then concept drawings and pricing is submitted.