Rational System for Rating Wisconsin Bridges for Truck Loads

The State Department of Transportation  recently revised load limits for highway bridges in Wisconsin to allow heavier trucks, particularly if truckers had additional axles attached to their trucks to spread loads. Most of the companies involved in transporting timber in northern Wisconsin added the required extra axle at substantial cost. Unfortunately the load ratings for bridges on most county highways are set by local officials and may not reflect actual load capacities. Though the truckers added the extra axles many counties still placed load restrictions on essential bridges on local roads. This project will focus on developing guidelines to aid county officials in deciding whether load ratings are needed, evaluate whether selected posted bridges should be posted, and look at defining usable routes for timber haulers. Removal of non-essential load ratings will save the Wisconsin trucking industry many thousands of dollars in fuel costs and reduce truck emissions by shortening haul routes. The objective of the planned work is to develop guidelines for decision makers in evaluating whether highway bridges need to have truck load limits and what limits are appropriate. The project intends to accomplish the objective by working with the trucking industry in northern Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), and County highway officials to clearly identify the problems and possible solutions by working cooperatively. The trucking industry will participate by helping to accurately categorize and measure the weights of trucks and axle loads. Then the project will analyze a representative set of bridge spans to show the effects of those trucks in comparison to the standard types of trucks that are usually used to define a load rating. The methods and results will be used to provide simple guidelines for decision making.


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    • Status: Completed
    • Funding: $16493.00
    • Contract Numbers:

      CFIRE 02-20

    • Sponsor Organizations:

      National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE)

      University of Wisconsin, Madison
      1415 Engineering Drive, 2205 Engineering Hall
      Madison, WI  United States  53706
    • Project Managers:

      Waidley, Greg

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Wisconsin, Madison

      Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
      1415 Engineering Drive
      Madison, WI  United States  53706
    • Principal Investigators:

      Oliva, Michael

    • Start Date: 20080701
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20090801
    • Source Data: RiP Project 21456

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01462153
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE)
    • Contract Numbers: CFIRE 02-20
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 1:59PM