Evaluating the Load Carrying Capacity of Bridges Without Plans Using Field Test Results

Bridge load rating has become an integral part of bridge management in the United States. Ratings are used as a means to characterize the load carrying capacity of bridges, to allocate funding for the repair and rehabilitation of bridges and to approve permit vehicles and superload crossings. Most load ratings are calculated using simple analytical models that are based on information obtained from the structural plans for the bridge; however, for some bridges, particularly for many smaller, older bridges, structural plans may no longer be available. Determining the load rating factors for these types of structures is particularly difficult. The resulting ratings are usually based on numerous, conservative, assumptions. In many cases these structures end up with ratings much lower than they would have if plans were available for the bridge. There is a need for methods to help in determining realistic load ratings factors for bridges for which plans are not available. This report summarizes the results of a study into methods for load rating bridges for which structural plans are not available, based on the results of diagnostic load tests.


    • English


    • Status: Completed
    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Delaware Department of Transportation

      P.O. Box 778
      Dover, DE  USA  19901
    • Performing Organizations:

      Delaware Center for Transportation

      301 DuPont Hall
      Office 360D Dupont Hall
      Newark, DE  USA  19716
    • Principal Investigators:

      Shenton, Harry

      Chajes, Michael

    • Start Date: 20030701
    • Actual Completion Date: 20040930
    • Source Data: RiP Project 18809

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01459821
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Delaware Department of Transportation
    • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 1:13PM