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Thermal Response of a Highly Skewed Integral Bridge
Eichenthal, Seth L.
Edward J. Hoppe
Edward J. Hoppe
Year: 2012
VTRC No.: 12-R10

The purpose of this study was to conduct a field evaluation of a highly skewed semi-integral bridge in order to provide feedback regarding some of the assumptions behind the design guidelines developed by the Virginia Department of Transportation.  The project was focused on the long-term monitoring of a bridge on Route 18 over the Blue Spring Run in Alleghany County, Virginia. 

The 110-ft-long, one-span bridge was constructed at a 45° skew and with no approach slabs.  It incorporated an elasticized expanded polystyrene material at the back of the integral backwall.  Bridge data reflecting thermally induced displacements, loads, earth pressures, and pile strains were acquired at hourly intervals over a period of approximately 5 years.  Approach elevations were also monitored.  Analysis of data was used to formulate design recommendations for integral bridges in Virginia.

Field results indicated that semi-integral bridges can perform satisfactorily at a 45° skew provided some design details are modified.  The relatively high skew angle resulted in a pronounced tendency of the semi-integral superstructure to rotate in the horizontal plane.  This rotation can generate higher than anticipated horizontal earth pressure acting on the abutment wingwall.  Study recommendations include modifying the structural detail of the backwall-wingwall interface to mitigate crack formation and placing the load buttress close to the acute corner of a highly skewed abutment to reduce the abutment horizontal rotation.