Ultimate Strength Design for Highway Bridges

by Howard L. Payne,
Lamar H. Caldwell,

Serial Information: Journal of the Structural Division, 1965, Vol. 91, Issue 5, Pg. 43-56

Document Type: Journal Paper


An ultimate strength design method for highway bridges is presented. Highway bridges have variable live load capacity, and the smaller bridges control highway system capacity. It is demonstrated that the present minimum capacity is 2.0 live loads. A lower bound loading of 1.5 dead loads plus 2.0 live loads is advocated for all common bridges. This loading is applied to concrete decks, reinforced concrete girders, prestressed girders, composite steel girders, trusses, and substructures. These have intermediate grade reinforcing steel and A36 structural steel. Concrete girder bridges can be completely designed using existing specifications. Development work remains to be done on steel girder bridges and trusses. The proposed design method offers consistent service ratings and material economics in all common bridge types. The savings are estimated to be 4% of the national bridge budget.

Subject Headings: Load bearing capacity | Bridge design | Highway bridges | Dead loads | Live loads | Highway and road design | Girder bridges | Reinforced concrete

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