InTrans / Aug 14, 2018

Crash-tested bridge railings for timber bridges

Bridge railing systems in the United States historically have been designed on the basis of static load criteria given in the AASHTO Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges. In the past decade, full-scale vehicle crash testing has been recognized as a more appropriate and reliable method of evaluating bridge railing acceptability. In 1989 AASHTO published Guide Specifications for Bridge Railings, which gives the recommendations and procedures to evaluate bridge railings by full-scale vehicle crash testing. In 1993 NCHRP published Report 350: Recommended Procedures for the Safety Performance Evaluation of Highway Features, which provides criteria for evaluating longitudinal barriers. From these specifications, a cooperative research program was initiated to develop and crash test several bridge railings for longitudinal wood decks. The research resulted in the successful development and testing of five bridge railing systems for longitudinally laminated wood bridge decks in accordance with the AASHTO Performance Level 1 and Performance Level 2 requirements and the Test Level 4 requirements of NCHRP Report 350.