Load Rating Reinforced Concrete Bridges without Plans: State-of-the-Practice
Rémy D. Lequesne and William N. Collins
Appears on pages(s):
load rating, concrete, bridge, bridge with unknown details, NDE
In response to Federal Highway Administration requirements, several states are in the process of ensuring
all bridges within their inventories are load rated. A challenging aspect of this effort is load rating reinforced concrete
bridges that have no structural plans when there are thousands of such structures within a state inventory. To inform
these efforts, the literature was reviewed to identify existing methodologies and a survey was distributed to engineers
at state departments of transportation throughout the United States to understand how practicing engineers approach
this problem. The survey responses show there are numerous bridges in the U.S. without plans; over 25000 bridges
without plans are located in the 18 states that provided responses. Concrete structures comprise 70% of such bridges.
To load rate concrete bridges without plans, most responding states report primarily using engineering judgement,
which may include reference to performance under existing traffic, era-specific design traffic loads, assumed material
properties and reinforcement quantities, or data collected using load tests or non-destructive evaluation. Several
methodologies are described and advantages/limitations of each are discussed.