The effects of traffic loads on existing bridges are quite different from those of design live loads because of the various traffic environments. However, the bridge maintenance and safety assessment of in-service bridges maintain the design load capacity without considering the current traffic environment. The real traffic conditions on existing bridges may require a load capacity that is considerably different from the design. Therefore, the required load capacity of an existing highway bridge should be determined according to the extreme load effects that the bridge will experience from the actual traffic environment during its remaining service life for more rational maintenance of the infrastructure. A simulation process was developed to determine evaluation vehicle loads for bridge safety assessment based on the extreme load effects that may occur during the remaining service life. Realistic probabilistic traffic models were used to reflect the actual traffic environment. The presented model was used to analyze the extreme load effect on pre-stressed concrete (PSC) and steel box girder bridges, which are typical bridge types. The traffic environmental conditions included the traffic volume (2000-40,000), the proportion of heavy vehicles (15-45%), and the consecutive vehicle traveling patterns. The spans of the sample bridges were 30 m (PSC bridge) and 45 or 60 m (steel box girder bridge). In the results, the extreme load effects tended to increase with either the traffic volume or proportion of heavy vehicles. The evaluation vehicle loads for bridge safety assessment may be adjusted with the traffic conditions, such as the traffic volume, the proportion of heavy vehicles, and the consecutive vehicle traveling patterns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes