Field study of integral abutment bridges

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Date
1999
Authors
Thomas, Matthew Earl
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Abendroth, Robert E.
Greimann, Lowell F.
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Abstract
Integral abutment bridges are typically jointless bridges that make use of continuity of the bridge superstructure with the abutment to eliminate the need for traditional bearing supports at the abutments. Thermal loading on indeterminate structures, such as integral abutment bridges, creates stresses and displacements not typically associated with bridges supported on roller or sliding bearings that allow free expansion of the bridge superstructure. The goal of this research was to determine the magnitudes of the thermal loads imposed on these structures and to better characterize the behavior of in-service integral abutment bridges. Extensive field monitoring was conducted on two in-service integral abutment bridges. The experimental investigation consisted of determining longitudinal and transverse abutment movements, strains in H-shaped steel piles, strains in prestressed concrete girders, temperature distributions, and the fixity of the piles and girders in the abutment. Data was collected to measure effects of daily and seasonal temperature variations. A large volume of data was collected and analyzed. Preliminary results show that the bridges are performing satisfactorily with no sign of distress. In addition to providing experimental evidence of the behavior of the two bridges, the data will be used to calibrate analytical models in subsequent research to be conducted on these bridges.
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