The current AASHTO equations for barge impact loads are based on scale models of barges, and may not accurately predict impact loads on bridge piers. The results of this study produce more realistic flotilla impact design loads, potentially leading to a reduction in construction costs of bridges over navigable waterways. The objectives of this study are: (1) To conduct theoretical finite element analysis on various types of flotillas impacting bridge piers. The flotillas and the respective barges will be of the type commonly traversing Kentucky’s waterways; and (2) To generate design equations for barge/flotilla impact loads. The study concludes the following: (1) Barge-pier impact forces are mostly dependent on the barge crushing resistance; (2) the stiffness of ordinary piers has little effect on the mean impact force, but the pier geometry does have a significant effect; (3) rounded end piers are recommended, and (4) increasing the number of barges in a flotilla does not proportionally increase the average impact force, it increases the impact duration.
Digital Object Identifier
Yuan, Peng; Harik, Issam E.; and Davidson, Michael T., "Multi-Barge Flotilla Impact Forces on Bridges" (2008). Kentucky Transportation Center Research Report. 75.