Advancing Bridge Load Rating: Best Practices and Model Frameworks

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

05/01/20

END DATE

04/30/22

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC, CTRE
SPONSORS

Federal Highway Administration State Planning and Research Funding

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

About the research

This project is a task order under the main Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored project, “Infrastructure Research and Technology Deployment Program.”

The process of bridge load rating, posting, and overweight permitting is constantly evolving due to the regulatory requirements regarding frequency of inspections and relevant changes to the bridge that necessitates re-rating. These factors include changes to the dead load, strength of members, or any maintenance/rehabilitation work. The US has over 600,000 bridges, making the process of load rating and posting a significant effort that benefits greatly from improvements to efficiency. As such, states are very interested in modifying their procedures to implement technology and improved means and methods to reduce the time demand associated with load rating. However, there does remain some disparity in how quickly different states are to adopt new technologies and concepts. Being able to load rate bridges efficiently and accurately is a necessity, particularly in the use case of permit load routing. In many instances, the permit load processing units of bridge owner agencies must evaluate non-standard loadings potentially traversing complex structures in a matter of a few days to avoid negative impacts to commerce.

While many states are evolving individually, it is important to learn from one another and provide consistency across the nation. This proposed work will address this need via the development of best practices and model frameworks.

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