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The dynamic interaction of vehicles and bridges results in live loads being induced into bridges that are greater than the vehicle’s static weight. To limit this dynamic effect, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) currently requires that permitted trucks slow to five miles per hour and span the roadway centerline when crossing bridges. However, this practice has other negative consequences such as the potential for crashes, impracticality for bridges with high traffic volumes, and higher fuel consumption. The main objective of this work was to provide information and guidance on the allowable speeds for permitted vehicles and loads on bridges.

A field test program was implemented on five bridges (i.e., two steel girder bridges, two pre-stressed concrete girder bridges, and one concrete slab bridge) to investigate the dynamic response of bridges due to vehicle loadings. The important factors taken into account during the field tests included vehicle speed, entrance conditions, vehicle characteristics (i.e., empty dump truck, full dump truck, and semi-truck), and bridge geometric characteristics (i.e., long span and short span). Three entrance conditions were used: As-is and also Level 1 and Level 2, which simulated rough entrance conditions with a fabricated ramp placed 10 feet from the joint between the bridge end and approach slab and directly next to the joint, respectively. The researchers analyzed and utilized the field data to derive the dynamic impact factors (DIFs) for all gauges installed on each bridge under the different loading scenarios.


For this and other reports, please see the InTrans project pages at

Report Number

InTrans Project 14-521

Granting Agencies

Iowa Highway Research Board, Iowa Department of Transportation; Federal Highway Administration, U. S. Department of Transportation



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3.48 mb