Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Specialization

Civil Engineering

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Mayrai Gindy

Abstract

Live load models are essential to assess the safety of highway bridges. To determine the maximum permissible load, Rhode Island currently uses legal live load models developed for a national level application based on federal weight restrictions. However, the state has allowable limits higher than those mandated federally, therefore, the models are not entirely representative of the truck traffic in the state. Furthermore, the state's transportation agencies may issue permits for the operation of trucks in excess of the weight restrictions. To assist in permitting decisions, permit live load models developed from previous applications are introduced in the evaluation of bridges. Changes in the characteristics of permit applications diminishes the effectiveness of the permit live load models.

A database of approved permit applications was utilized to analyze the models through their ability to exceed, or envelope, the structural responses due to the applicant trucks. As a results, state-specific 3- and 5-axle legal live load models were developed. A validation of the permit live load models was also performed and revealed that they did not perform adequately. New permit live load models were developed to further assist and expedite the state's transportation agencies permit reviewing process.

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