Bridge widening with composite steel-concrete girders: application and analysis of live load distribution

Yue Yang, Xiaoguang Zhang, Jiansheng Fan, Yu Bai

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A bridge widening technology using steel-concrete composite system was developed and is presented in this paper. The widened superstructure system consists of a newly built composite steel-concrete girder with concrete deck and steel diaphragms attached to the existing concrete girders. This method has been applied in several bridge widening projects in China, and one of those projects is presented in detail. Due to the higher stiffness-to-weight ratio and the rapid erection of composite girders, this widening method reveals benefits in both mechanical performance and construction. As only a few methods
for the design of bridges with different types of girders are recommended in current design codes, a more accurate analytical method of estimating live load distribution on girder bridges was developed. In the analytical model, the effects of span length, girder pacing, diaphragms, concrete decks were considered, as
well as the torsional and flexural stiffness of both composite box girders and concrete T girders. The study shows that the AASHTO LRFD specification procedures and the analytical models proposed in this paper closely approximate the live load distribution factors determined by finite element analysis. A parametric study was also conducted using the finite element method to evaluate the potential load carrying capacities of the existing concrete girders after widening.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-316
Number of pages22
JournalAdvances in Concrete Construction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • bridge widening
  • composite girder
  • ; distribution factor
  • field test
  • finite element analysis

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