Effect of Girder Spacing on Bridge Deck Response

Report No: 01-R6

Published in 2000

About the report:

The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the use of the commercial finite element code ABAQUS for the analysis of reinforced concrete bridge decks and to employ this analysis package to determine the effect of girder spacing on deck response. A field test was conducted on the Willis River Bridge, and the response, including displacements and strains on the girders and deck surface, was measured. A three-dimensional finite element model was developed to predict the overall structural response of the bridge. Model accuracy was verified with the response data acquired from the field test. Girder displacements, longitudinal and transverse deck strains, longitudinal deck strains, and natural frequencies of vibration were predicted with reasonable accuracy. The techniques used in the validated finite element model of the Willis River Bridge were implemented to model the Route 257 Bridge over Route 81 in Rockingham County, Virginia. This new model was used in a parameter study to investigate the effects of girder spacing on the stress that develops in the concrete deck. Future phases of this project will include studies that investigate the effect of other parameters such as skew and the need for top reinforcement in reinforced concrete bridges.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

James G. Buckler, Peter J. Massarelli, Furman W. Barton, Ph.D., Jose P. Gomez, Ph.D., P.E., Wallace T. McKeel, Jr., P.E.

Last updated: December 7, 2023

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