Maintenance of Diaphragm-Girder Connections

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by J. Michael Stallings,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Structures 2001: A Structural Engineering Odyssey

Abstract: Fatigue cracking at diaphragm-girder connections and at similar connections of cross-frames and floorbeams have been common in steel highway bridges for the past 20 or 30 years. Fatigue cracking at these connections generally results from forces acting transverse to the roadway that are generated by relative vertical deflections of the girders. The types of fatigue cracks that occur and the required repairs vary depending on the structural details of the connections. A synthesis of lessons learned from past repair projects will be presented. Topics presented will include behaviors observed in field tests of various connection types and the repair options available for addressing common types of cracking. Repair options discussed will include drilling of holes, replacement of connections with bolted or welded connections, modification of existing connections to reduce stress ranges, and permanent removal of diaphragms.

Subject Headings: Cracking | Bolted connections | Fatigue (material) | Girders | Steel bridges | Highway bridges | Field tests |

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