Testing of Old Reinforced Concrete Bridges, HR-390, 1997

(1997) Testing of Old Reinforced Concrete Bridges, HR-390, 1997. Transportation, Department of


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The objective of this research project was to service load test a representative sample of old reinforced concrete bridges (some of them historic and some of them scheduled for demolition) with the results being used to create a database so the performance of similar bridges could be predicted. The types of bridges tested included two reinforced concrete open spandrel arches, two reinforced concrete filled spandrel arches, one reinforced concrete slab bridge, and one two span reinforced concrete stringer bridge. The testing of each bridge consisted of applying a static load at various locations on the bridges and monitoring strains and deflections in critical members. The load was applied by means of a tandem axle dump truck with varying magnitudes of load. At each load increment, the truck was stopped at predetermined transverse and longitudinal locations and strain and deflection data were obtained. The strain data obtained were then evaluated in relation to the strain values predicted by traditional analytical procedures and a carrying capacity of the bridges was determined based on the experimental data. The response of a majority of the bridges tested was considerably lower than that predicted by analysis. Thus, the safe load carrying capacities of the bridges were greater than those predicted by the analytical models, and in a few cases, the load carrying capacities were found to be three or four times greater than calculated values. However, the test results of one bridge were lower than those predicted by analysis and thus resulted in the analytical rating being reduced. The results of the testing verified that traditional analytical methods, in most instances, are conservative and that the safe load carrying capacities of a majority of the reinforced concrete bridges are considerably greater than what one would determine on the basis of analytical analysis alone. In extrapolating the results obtained from diagnostic load tests to levels greater than those placed on the bridge during the load test, care must be taken to ensure safe bridge performance at the higher load levels. To extrapolate the load test results from the bridges tested in this investigation, the method developed by Lichtenstein in NCHRP Project 12-28(13)A was used.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Alternatives analysis, Bridges, Deflection, Extrapolation, Forecasting, Highway capacity, Load tests, Reinforced concrete bridges, Static loads, Strain (Mechanics), Bridge capacity
Subjects: Transportation
Transportation > Bridges and tunnels
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation > Design and Construction
ID Code: 16919
Deposited By: Iowa DOT Library
Deposited On: 13 May 2014 12:14
Last Modified: 29 Dec 2014 19:29
URI: https://publications.iowa.gov/id/eprint/16919