Dynamic Behavior and Fatigue Life of Highway Bridges Due to Doubling Heavy Vehicles Dissertation

thesis or dissertation chair

fiu authors

  • Tarighi, Arash


  • An increase in the demand for the freight shipping in the United States has been predicted for the near future and Longer Combination Vehicles (LCVs), which can carry more loads in each trip, seem like a good solution for the problem. Currently, utilizing LCVs is not permitted in most states of the US and little research has been conducted on the effects of these heavy vehicles on the roads and bridges. In this research, efforts are made to study these effects by comparing the dynamic and fatigue effects of LCVs with more common trucks.

    Ten Steel and prestressed concrete bridges with span lengths ranging from 30’ to 140’ are designed and modeled using the grid system in MATLAB. Additionally, three more real bridges including two single span simply supported steel bridges and a three span continuous steel bridge are modeled using the same MATLAB code. The equations of motion of three LCVs as well as eight other trucks are derived and these vehicles are subjected to different road surface conditions and bumps on the roads and the designed and real bridges. By forming the bridge equations of motion using the mass, stiffness and damping matrices and considering the interaction between the truck and the bridge, the differential equations are solved using the ODE solver in MATLAB and the results of the forces in tires as well as the deflections and moments in the bridge members are obtained.

    The results of this study show that for most of the bridges, LCVs result in the smallest values of Dynamic Amplification Factor (DAF) whereas the Single Unit Trucks cause the highest values of DAF when traveling on the bridges. Also in most cases, the values of DAF are observed to be smaller than the 33% threshold suggested by the design code. Additionally, fatigue analysis of the bridges in this study confirms that by replacing the current truck traffic with higher capacity LCVs, in most cases, the remaining fatigue life of the bridge is only slightly decreased which means that taking advantage of these larger vehicles can be a viable option for decision makers.

publication date

  • March 26, 2015


  • Dynamic Amplification Factor
  • Dynamic Response
  • Fatigue
  • Finite Element Modeling
  • Prestressed Concrete Bridges
  • Steel Bridges
  • Trucks

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)