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Advancing Bridge Load Rating: State of Practice and Frameworks

Project Details
STATUS

In-Progress

START DATE

05/01/20

END DATE

04/30/22

FOCUS AREAS

Infrastructure

RESEARCH CENTERS InTrans, BEC, CTRE
SPONSORS

Federal Highway Administration State Planning and Research Funding

Researchers
Principal Investigator
Brent Phares

Bridge Research Engineer, BEC

About the research

This project is a task order under the main Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored project, “Infrastructure Research and Technology Deployment Program.”

The US has more than 600,000 bridges, making the distributed load rating and posting processes across the nation a significant effort that does and can benefit from improvements in efficiency. Bridge load rating, posting, and overweight permitting processes are constantly evolving due to the regulatory requirements regarding the frequency of inspections and relevant changes to bridges that necessitate re-rating them. These factors include changes to the dead load, strength of members, and any maintenance/rehabilitation work.

As such, States are interested in modifying their procedures to implement technology and improved means and methods to reduce the time associated with load rating. Being able to load rate bridges efficiently and accurately is a necessity, particularly in the use case of permit load routing.

While many States are evolving individually, it is important to learn from one another and provide consistency across the nation. Based on the extensive findings during the information collection processes for this project, frameworks for future bridge load rating, posting, and overweight permitting were developed to improve productivity, efficiency, and consistency by closing process gaps and through the application of newer technologies. The newer technologies include digital twin concepts, integrating various (new) data, creating/updating/reusing models, integrating sensing data (bridge, traffic, weigh-in-motion), and better analysis methods.

This work helps address the need via the identification and development of state of practice and future frameworks.

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