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To assess the safety of an existing bridge, the traffic loads to which it may be subjected in its lifetime need to be accurately quantified. In this paper the 75 year characteristic maximum traffic load effects are found using a carefully calibrated traffic load simulation model. To generate the bridge loading scenarios, an extensive weigh in motion (WIM) database, from three different European countries, is used. Statistical distributions for vehicle weights, inter-vehicle gaps and other characteristics are derived from the measurements, and are used as the basis for Monte Carlo simulations of traffic representing many years. An advantage of this “long-run” simulation approach is that it provides information on typical extreme traffic loading scenarios. This makes possible a series of nonlinear finite element analyses of a reinforced concrete bridge to determine the response to typical characteristic maximum loadings. Results of the nonlinear analyses are compared to the corresponding results using Eurocode and AASHTO load models.
Hajializadeh, D., OBrien, E.J., Enright, B. and Sheils, E. (2012), 'Nonlinear Response Of Structures To Characteristic Loading Scenarios', EMI/PMC 2012, Joint Conference of the Engineering Mechanics Institute and the 11th ASCE Joint Specialty Conference on Probabilistic Mechanics and Structural Reliability, Notre Dame, Indiana.