Corrosion in the girders of steel girder bridges often occurs due to the deicing salts, water, and other debris that leak through the deck joints into the web and bottom flange at the girder ends. Corrosion causes loss of cross-sectional area leading to a reduction in section properties of the member, which eventually results in a reduction in structural resistance against shear and bearing. In this study, seven full-scale tests were performed on decommissioned steel girders acquired from bridges scheduled for demolition in Indiana. Two of the four girders had severe corrosion with cracks and holes in the bottom of the web induced by corrosion, while four girders had moderate section loss induced artificially. All seven girders were subjected to shear loading to determine the residual shear and bearing capacity. Test results revealed a reduction in strength due to section loss compared to nominal sections. Failure modes observed during these four large-scale experiments were shear buckling, shear rupture, and web local crippling. Finite element models were developed and benchmarked to the experimental results. Parametric studies were performed for unstiffened and stiffened girders and included different corrosion scenarios by varying parameters such as corrosion height, length, and thickness loss. Results were analyzed to investigate the effect of each parameter and a modification factor was developed to estimate the residual shear and bearing capacity of corroded girders.

Report Number



steel girders, corrosion, section loss, shear buckling, shear capacity, web local crippling, parametric study, modification factor

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

Date of this Version