Rapid Bridge Assessment Method for Highway Bridges

There are an increasing number of highway bridges in our nation which are failing to pass current simplified load rating analyses. Recent reports from FHWA indicate the approximately 115,000 bridges, or more than one in every six, fall within this category. Quantitative structural assessment through the use of controlled load tests (either diagnostic or proof level) has been proven effective, but is hampered by cost limitations, time constraints and access requirements. As an alternative, a rapid testing method leveraging the strains, displacements and accelerations caused by the operational demands of the structure in combination with an automated Finite Element Modeling approach has been developed. This paper will present a detailed overview of the objectives of the proposed rapid testing method, distinguish the method from traditional load testing and highlight several real-life applications as case studies.


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