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International Journal of Civil, Mechanical and Energy Science

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Load Rating of Timber Bridges through Physical Testing and Software Application( Vol-2,Issue-4,July 2016 )


Yoon-Si Lee, Brent Phares, Fayez Moutassem, Ahsan U. H. Syed


Timber Bridges, Field Testing, Bridge Load Rating.


This paper presents the applicability of a field testing and a commercially available structural testing system in load rating of timber bridges. Two bridges were instrumented with strain transducers and then controlled load tests were conducted with a 3-axle dump truck driven at a crawl speed across the bridges. The location of the instrumentation was selected such that maximum live-load response of the longitudinal girders could be determined. Strain transducers were placed at the midspans of the bridge to determine the flexural strains. Two transverse truck paths were established to develop the behavior characteristics of the bridges. As the truck continuously moved along the prescribed paths, strain data was recorded with respect to the loading position of the truck over the bridge. Finite element models of the bridges were developed and calibrated based upon the observed behavior of the bridge and the field measured strains. Results from the calibrated model were used to determine the load rating of the bridges.

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[1] Code of Federal Regulations, National Bridge Inspection Standards (23 CFR 650). U.S. Government Printing Office, revised April 1, 1998.
[2] Manual for Bridge Evaluation, AASHTO, 2nd Edition, 2011.
[3] B. Phares, T. J. Wipf, F. W. Klaiber, A. Abu-Hawash, and S. Neubauer, “Implementation of Physical Testing for Typical Bridge Load and Superload Rating," Journal of Transportation Research Board, vol. 11, 2005, pp. 159-167.
[4] T.J. Wipf, B.M. Phares, F.W. Klaiber, D.L. Wood, E. Mellingen, and A. Samuelson, "Development of Bridge Load Testing Process for Load Evaluation," Project TR445 Final Report, Iowa Department of Transportation, 2003, 154 pp.