A Study of a Rigid Frame Highway Bridge in Virginia

Report No: 75-R47

Published in 1975

About the report:

This report describes the experimental and analytical study of a rigid frame highway bridge conducted under the auspices of the Federal Highway Administration and the Virginia Highway & Transportation Research Council. Data collected during the experimental phase provided measures of strains and deflections at midspan of selected girders and strain data in the vicinity of one of the haunches. These data, along with calculated values of bending moment based on the measurements, provided a basis for evaluating the design and for comparison with subsequently calculated analytical data. The theoretical study was performed by modeling a typical rigid frame girder as a series of flexural elements and analyzing the model using a finite element computer program. Results obtained included shears, moments and deflections at each node point on the model; also influence lines for moment and deflection at midspan and at the haunch extremities were generated. Calculated values of moment and deflection were found to compare quite favorably with those determined from the experimental study. Effects of various parameters on moments and deflections were studied by varying such characteristics as haunch representation, support conditions and member representation. Variations in support conditions were found to be the only parameter to have any significant effect on moments and deflections, and then primarily on stresses in the vicinity in the haunch.

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.


  • Henry L. Kinnier, Furman W. Barton, Ph.D.

Last updated: February 5, 2024

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: