A Loading Study of Older Highway Bridges in Virginia

Report No: 77-R26

Published in 1976

About the report:

A 60-foot non-composite steel beam and concrete deck highway bridge span over the Shenandoah River on Route 7 in Clarke County was tested with a 23-ton, tandem axle test vehicle in July 1975. Strain gages were placed near midspan on the lower flanges, the webs and the upper flanges of the steel stringers (W36 x 150) and in one position on the underside of the concrete deck. Midspan deflections were measured for each of the five stringers. The purpose of the study was to determine the present capacity of this typical design that was used extensively in the 1920s and 1930s when no shear connectors were employed to provide composite action. The results indicated that the experimental stresses from static live loading were well below the calculated stresses based on conventional design theory and distribution factors. The distribution of the test load to each of the five stringers for five lateral positions of the test vehicle was similar to the distributions found in earlier studies, for composite spans.

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.


  • H. L. Kinnier, Larry L. Ichter

Last updated: January 28, 2024

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