The recent bridge disaster at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, has renewed concern about the mechanism of material fatigue as a possible cause of catastrophic failure of bridge structures. A reasonable methodology for evaluating the fatigue condition of the highway bridge requires a knowledge of the distribution of traffic loads utilizing the facility during the analysis period. The accuracy of such an analysis is dependent on the accuracies of the input data -- material fatigue properties and traffic characteristics. The more critical of the above parameters, with respect to accuracy, appears to be traffic characteristics. This is especially true of vehicle weight characteristics since no loadometer surveys had been made at any Ohio River bridge location prior to this study.

Report Date


Report Number

No. 275

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