Development of Skewed Steel I-Girder Bridge Field Monitoring Strategy through Agency Survey and Numerical Simulation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Highly-skewed steel I-girder bridges are commonly used across the US, especially in congested areas, despite complications in their analysis and design. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) LRFD Bridge Design Specification provides suggestions for design values of flange lateral bending stress in addition to line girder analysis when bridge skew exceeds 20° for certain cross-frame layouts. For bridges with skew exceeding 60°, a higher level of analysis is often required, with cross-frames considered primary members in design. Neither the magnitude of additional lateral stress nor the associated skew limits are particularly well understood, so more study is needed to refine and support this analysis and design approach. In addition to short-term response and load distribution, long-term bridge behavior for thermally induced stresses and deformations also needs to be more thoroughly studied. In support of an ongoing research initiative in Illinois, an agency survey was formulated and distributed across the US to understand practices used and challenges faced by state transportation agencies when designing and constructing skewed steel I-girder bridges. Findings from the responses of 23 state agencies illuminate issues, concerns, and current practice related to design, construction, and service life of those bridges. The agency survey informed selection of two bridges in Champaign, Illinois, for field monitoring, in order to provide new understanding of skew effects on bridge superstructure behavior. Three-dimensional finite-element analysis was conducted to guide field instrumentation planning, and initial measurements from the monitored bridges under traffic load confirmed good predictions compared to the planning-stage numerical study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04022056
JournalPractice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Bridge skew
  • Cross-frame
  • Field monitoring
  • Live load distribution
  • Steel I-girder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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