Field Study of a Pedestrian Bridge of Reinforced Plastic

Report No: 86-R21

Published in 1985

About the report:

A discussion of the behavior of the superstructure of a pedestrian bridge fabricated with glass-reinforced plastic under a field load test is presented. Experimental measurements of elastic vertical deflections were 1.8 times greater than those predicted by means of a finite element solution. A live load of 4.0 times the dead load of the superstructure and polymer concrete deck was used for the elastic load test. Elastic strains were uniform among the different elements of the superstructure and computed stresses did not exceed 10,000 Ibf/in² at full live load. A residual deflection in the superstructure of 0.10 in upon removal of the live load was concentrated in the supports. Creep deflection and strain measurements recorded over 61 days indicated that negligible creep occurred under a load of 3.0 times the dead load. Air temperature variations produced pronounced changes in deflection and strain readings but were reversible. The overall structural behavior of the bridge and resistance to handling abuse exceeded expectations.

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.


  • Fred C. McCormick

Last updated: February 10, 2024

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