The inspection and evaluation of bridges in Indiana is critical to ensure their safety to better serve the citizens of the state. Part of this evaluation includes bridge load rating. Bridge load rating, which is a measure of the safe load capacity of the bridge, is a logical process that is typically conducted by utilizing critical information that is available on the bridge plans. For existing, poorly-documented bridges, however, the load rating process becomes challenging to adequately complete because of the missing bridge information. Currently, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) does not have a prescribed methodology for such bridges. In an effort to improve Indiana load rating practices INDOT commissioned this study to develop a general procedure for load rating bridges without plans. The general procedure was developed and it was concluded that it requires four critical parts. These parts are bridge characterization, bridge database, field survey and inspection, and bridge load rating. The proposed procedure was then evaluated on two bridges in Indiana that do not have plans as a proof of concept. As a result, it was concluded that load rating of bridges without plans can be successfully completed using the general procedure. A flowchart describing the general procedure was created to make the load rating process more user-friendly. Additional flowcharts that summarize the general procedure for different type of bridges were also provided.

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load rating, bridges without plans, buried structures, load testing, finite element analysis

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Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, Indiana

Date of this Version