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Effect of superstructure-abutment continuity on live load distribution in integral abutment bridge girders

2010-03-30
Dicleli, Murat
Erhan, Semih
In this study, the effect of superstructure-abutment continuity on the distribution of live load effects among the girders of integral abutment bridges (IABs) is investigated. For this purpose, two and three dimensional finite element models of several single-span, symmetrical integral abutment and simply supported (jointed) bridges (SSBs) are built and analyzed. In the analyses, the effect of various superstructure properties such as span length, number of design lanes, girder size and spacing as well as slab thickness are considered. The results from the analyses of two and three dimensional finite element models are then used to calculate the live load distribution factors (LLDFs) for the girders of IABs and SSBs as a function of the above mentioned parameters. LLDFs for the girders are also calculated using the AASHTO formulae developed for SSBs. Comparison of the analyses results revealed that the superstructure-abutment continuity in IABs produces a better distribution of live load effects among the girders compared to SSBs. The continuity effects become more predominant for short span IABs. Furthermore, AASHTO live load distribution formulae developed for SSBs lead to conservative estimates of live load girder moments and shears for short-span IABs.