Evaluation of Ice Loads on Bridge Piers in South Dakota

Ice load on bridge structure is one of the major components for Extreme Event load combinations specified in the AASHTO Code. In seismic inactive regions such as South Dakota, ice load can be the predominant lateral load that governs the design of bridge substructures. Accurate estimation on the magnitude of ice forces that act on bridge piers and abutments in northern climates is a major concern in the design of new bridges and in the evaluation of existing bridges. While empirical equations were provided by AASHTO to calculate the design ice load based mainly on effective ice strength and thickness, these formulas were developed assuming thick ice formation which is quite different from the "ice cakes" that form on South Dakota rivers. Thus even with very accurate ice strength and thickness values, ice load calculated based on AASHTO formulas may still be inaccurate. This inaccuracy will lead to inappropriate pier designs that may cost the public in the long run. Field measurement of ice load is the most direct and accurate approach to obtain local pier-ice interaction data and has seen its applications in several cold region bridges (e.g. Brown et al. 2010). The proposed work focuses on directly measuring ice load at critical sites in South Dakota and comparing the actual load statistics with codified load values. Combined with existing studies on ice conditions formerly conducted within the state (USGS report released in 2002), the information gathered in this study will provide the bridge designers with more accurate and confident ice load values for new bridge design as well as existing bridge evaluation.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $89430
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    South Dakota State University, Brookings

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Brookings, SD  United States  57007
  • Principal Investigators:

    Pei, Shiling

    Wehbe, Nadim

  • Start Date: 20100701
  • Expected Completion Date: 20161231
  • Actual Completion Date: 20171129
  • Source Data: MPC-352

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01466121
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT07-G-0008
  • Files: UTC, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 3:11PM