Heavy Agricultural Loads on Pavements and Bridges, HR-1073, 1999

(1999) Heavy Agricultural Loads on Pavements and Bridges, HR-1073, 1999. Transportation, Department of


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During the harvest season in Iowa, it is common to have single axle loads on secondary roads and bridges that are excessive (typical examples are grain carts) and well beyond normal load limits. Even though these excessive loads occur only during a short time of the year, they may do significant damage to pavements and bridges. In addition, the safety of some bridges may be compromised because of the excessive loads, and sometimes there may be little indication to the users that damage may be imminent. At this time there are no Iowa laws regulating axle loads allowed for agricultural equipment. This study looks at the potential problems this may cause on secondary roads and timber stringer bridges. Both highway pavement and timber bridges are evaluated in this report. A section (panel) of Iowa PCC paved county road was chosen to study the effects of heavy agricultural loads on pavements. Instrumentation was applied to the panel and a heavily loaded grain cart was rolled across. The collected data were analyzed for any indication of excessive stresses of the concrete. The second study, concerning excessive loads on timber stringer bridges, was conducted in the laboratory. Four bridge sections were constructed and tested. Two of the sections contained five stringers and two sections had three stringers. Timber for the bridges came from a dismantled bridge, and deck panels were cut from new stock. All timber was treated with creosote. A hydraulic load was applied at the deck mid-span using a foot print representing a tire from a typical grain cart. Force was applied until failure of the system resulted. The collected data were evaluated to provide indications of load distribution and for comparison with expected wheel loads for a typical heavily loaded single axle grain cart. Results of the pavement tests showed that the potential of over-stressing the pavement is a possibility. Even though most of the tension stress levels recorded were below the rupture strength of the concrete, there were a few instances where the indicated tension stress level exceeded the concrete rupture strength. Results of the bridge tests showed that when the static ultimate load capacity of the timber stringer bridge sections was reached, there was sudden loss of capacity. Prior to reaching this ultimate capacity, the load sharing between the stringers was very uniform. The failure was characterized by loss of flexural capacity of the stringers. In all tests, the ultimate test load exceeded the wheel load that would be applied by an 875 bushel single axle grain cart.

Item Type: Departmental Report
Keywords: Agricultural equipment, Bearing capacity, Failure, Field tests, Flexural strength, Heavy vehicles, Laboratory tests, Load tests, Overweight loads, Secondary roads, Stresses, Wooden bridges
Subjects: Transportation > Pavements
Transportation > Bridges and tunnels
Transportation > Roads and highways
Transportation > Design and Construction
ID Code: 19893
Deposited By: Iowa DOT Library
Deposited On: 24 Jun 2015 17:09
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2015 17:09
URI: https://publications.iowa.gov/id/eprint/19893