Evaluation and Mitigation of Vehicle Impact Hazards for Overpasses

Crashes of heavy trucks with bridge columns are random events with low probability of occurrence. In spite of the low odds, previous collision events have resulted in catastrophic partial or full collapse of bridges. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) Bridge Design Specifications requires bridge columns to be designed for collision loads to prevent bridge collapse under such extreme events. The majority of overpass bridges on the Interstate system and other major highways in South Dakota were designed and constructed prior to the development of the collision load design requirements. This study was performed to develop a risk and mitigation plan for South Dakota bridges under vehicular collision forces. A risk assessment for truck collisions with bridge columns was performed, and the vulnerability of bridge columns to catastrophic failure under lateral collision forces was evaluated to develop a risk analysis and mitigation strategy for critical bridges on the state’s Interstate system and other critical highways. The risk assessment study resulted in the development of a prioritization list for retrofit of bridge bents to mitigate collapse under vehicular collision forces. An experimental study was conducted on two one-third-scale bent specimens to assess the effectiveness of a retrofit measure for vulnerable bridge bents. The retrofit consisted of a crash strut that spans between the bent columns and acts as a shear wall. Experimental results showed that the retrofitted specimen was capable of resisting 150 percent of the AASHTO vehicular collision force without experiencing any significant distress. A finite element dynamic analysis showed that the AASHTO-specified 600-kip vehicle collision force is reasonable.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    South Dakota State University, Brookings

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Brookings, SD  United States  57007

    University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Milwaukee, WI  United States  53201-0784

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    South Dakota Department of Transportation

    700 East Broadway Avenue
    Pierre, SD  United States  57501
  • Authors:
    • Wehbe, Nadim I
    • Qin, Xiao
    • Tigges, Brett
    • Shen, Zhao
    • Boudaqa, Abdullah
  • Publication Date: 2017-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 152p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01661646
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC 17-339
  • Created Date: Feb 28 2018 5:02PM