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There are hundreds of structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges in the state of Iowa. With the majority of these bridges located on rural county roads where there is limited funding available to replace the bridges, diagnostic load testing can be utilized to determine the actual load carrying capacity of the bridge. One particular family or fleet of bridges that has been determined to be desirable for load testing consists of single-span bridges with non-composite, cast-in-place concrete decks, steel stringers, and timber substructures. Six bridges with poor performing superstructure and substructure from the aforementioned family of bridges were selected to be load tested. The six bridges were located on rural roads in five different counties in Iowa: Boone, Carroll, Humboldt, Mahaska, and Marshall. Volume I of this report focuses on evaluating the superstructure for this family of bridges. This volume discusses the behavior characteristics that influence the load carrying capacity of this fleet of bridges. In particular, the live load distribution, partial composite action, and bearing restraint were investigated as potential factors that could influence the bridge ratings. Implementing fleet management practices, the bridges were analyzed to determine if the load test results could be predicted to better analyze previously untested bridges. For this family of bridges it was found that the ratings increased as a result of the load testing demonstrating a greater capacity than determined analytically. Volume II of this report focuses on evaluating the timber substructure for this family of bridges. In this volume, procedures for detecting pile internal decay using nondestructive ultrasonic stress wave techniques, correlating nondestructive ultrasonic stress wave techniques to axial compression tests to estimate deteriorated pile residual strength, and evaluating load distribution through poor performing timber substructure elements by instrumenting and load testing the abutments of the six selected bridges are discussed. Also, in this volume pile repair methods for restoring axial and bending capacities of pile are developed and evaluated.


For this and other reports, visit the Center for Transportation Research and Education project page at

Report Number

CTRE Project 04-184; IHRB Project TR-522

Granting Agencies

Sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation



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4.2 mb