Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Holistic consideration of the deformation behavior of prestressed concrete cantilevered bridges

Austria icon
Geo-spatial type
Infrastructure Node
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Infrastructure (INF)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The balanced cantilever method is an economical construction method for prestressed concrete bridges with large spans in a challenging topography. In Austria, but also internationally, a few prestressed cantilever bridges were detected within bridge maintenance which show contrary to expectations that, on the one hand, the actual deformation is significantly larger than the predicted one, and on the other hand, this deformation does not seem to stabilize even after decades. In former investigations it was assumed that this is mainly due to the uncertainties of the creep and shrinkage models used (CEB or ACI). This argumentation, however, cannot be accepted since the two phenomena mentioned do not occur in many other prestressed cantilever bridges.


The proposers assume that the structural characteristics such as slenderness, extent of prestress, static system etc. are of substantial importance in this context. Furthermore, the influence of a possible crack formation was not adequately taken into account by the former investigations. A numerous successful prestressed cantilever bridges as well as the very successful history of prestressed concrete in bridge constructions support this estimation. Besides, if the uncertainty of the creep models used is the predominant reason, the extent of the crack formation in prestressed concrete bridges would have to be significantly greater than what is previously known, since the conventional creep models were also used for the determination of loss of prestress.

The innovative content of the present proposal is a comprehensive assessment including all relevant parameters of deformation of prestressed concrete. Of course, the international experience is considered, especially regarding WP 2.1.1 of the fib as well as TC 242-MDC of RILEM, however, also structural conditions as well as cracking state were also always adequately taken into account. The reliable reasoning is finally enabled by a multilevel approach consisting of

  1. an analysis of historical data of existing bridges with respect to deformation, structural characteristics and cracking state as well as their conventional recalculation with standard beam models taking into account relevant models for creep and shrinkage,
  2. a monitoring of the TÜ Schottwien, with which both the creep and shrinkage deformations during the observation period as well as the present structural stiffness can be determined,
  3. a parametric study with a verified 3D-FE model for the identification of the essential Influence factors on deformation development and
  4. creep tests on samples taken from TÜ Schottwien with different stress history to quantify the remaining creep behaviour.

On the basis of the results, the causes of the unusual deformation development of the prestressed cantilever bridges are determined and recommendations in the form of limit values for the preservation of existing buildings as well as justified assumptions and constructive rules for the planning of new structures are derived.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
FFG - Die Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Other Programme
VIF 2016


Lead Organisation
Technische Universitat Graz Institut Fur Baubetrieb Und Bauwirtschaft
Lessingstraße 25, 8010 Graz, Austria
Partner Organisations
VCE Vienna Consulting Engineers ZT GmbH
Organisation website


Technology Theme
Infrastructure management
Balanced cantilever method for prestressed concrete bridge construction
Development phase

Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!