Long-term performance of a continuous box-girder bridge constructed using precast segments with wet ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) joints

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Although the precast segmental construction (PSC) technique can relieve age-dependent difficulties and accelerate bridge construction as compared to the cast-in-situ construction (CSC) technique for long-span prestressed concrete box-girder bridges (LSPCBB), the ordinary concrete joints between adjacent precast segments are risky. In order to improve the bond strength at the joint interface and enhance structural reliability, ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) can be used to fill joints as a new cementitious material with high strength, ductility, and durability. Thus, the effect of the naturally cured UHPC shrinkage and creep on the bridge's long-term performance should be evaluated. The present study numerically investigates the long-term bridge performance constructed by the PSC technique with wet UHPC joints. One cast-in-place segment using the CSC technique is replaced by one precast segment and one cast-in-place UHPC joint using the PSC technique in the bridge model. A creep coefficient equation in an existing code and a shrinkage strain equation fitted from the test data for the UHPC are verified, and an equivalent temperature drop method is used for simulating pretension forces of the prestressing strands in the numerical model. Through comparison with the CSC technique, the technical advantages in reducing long-term deflection, rotation, prestress losses, and improving normal cross-sectional stresses are quantitatively highlighted for the UHPC enhanced PSC bridge.