Construction and Live Load Behavior of a Skewed Steel I-Girder Bridge

Siang Zhou, Larry A. Fahnestock, James M. LaFave, Ricardo Dorado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As part of a long-term monitoring project, a two-span continuous steel I-girder bridge (skewed 41° with seat-type abutments) was instrumented and evaluated in the field during construction and after the bridge was in service. This paper discusses data from when the first stage (of a three-stage sequence) was constructed and initially opened to traffic. Girders and cross-frames were instrumented with strain gauges using a data acquisition system with a high sampling frequency (up to 20 Hz). Data collection began just before deck placement, and a series of live load tests was then conducted on the completed Stage I (half of the bridge) using a loaded truck. Three-dimensional finite element analyses were carried out to provide enhanced understanding of bridge behavior. Good agreement was observed between the numerical simulation results and the field monitoring data for both deck placement and live load testing. A slight inconsistency between numerical simulation and field measurement data at one girder section and an adjacent cross-frame indicated an unexpected local site condition, which was confirmed through a targeted field inspection. Live load distribution factors used during design conservatively overestimate bridge girder strong-axis bending response under live load (by around 50%). Maximum flange lateral bending stresses of 6.3 MPa (0.9 kips per square inch [ksi]) and 2.5 MPa (0.4 ksi) were observed during deck placement and truck tests, respectively. In addition, out-of-plane response of 10.6 MPa (1.5 ksi) was observed at girder web plates under concrete dead load.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-860
Number of pages15
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • I-girders
  • analysis
  • infrastructure
  • steel bridges
  • structures
  • superstructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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