Analysis of Cracking of I79 Bridge at Neville Island

by John W. Fisher, Lehigh Univ, Bethlehem, PA, USA,
Alan W. Pense, Lehigh Univ, Bethlehem, PA, USA,
Hans Hausamann, Lehigh Univ, Bethlehem, PA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Fracture Problems in the Transportation Industry


A large crack was discovered to form in a girder of the I-79 Glenfield Bridge over the back channel of the Ohio River near Pittsburgh on January 28, 1977. A section of the girder containing the crack was removed from the structure for investigation. This paper summarizes results of that study. It includes tests of the base metal and weld metal, metallographic and fractographic studies of the electroslag weldment and repair welds where the fracture originated, an analysis of the crack extension under cyclic loads and at instability, and recommendations for retrofitting. To supplement these studies, strain measurements were acquired during the repair of the fractured section. In addition, stress history studies under random variable truck traffic were carried out to assess the significance of repeated loads and evaluate the thermal stress response of the structure.

Subject Headings: Cracking | Welding | Thermal loads | Girder bridges | Traffic analysis | Stress history | Stress analysis | Ohio River | Pittsburgh | Pennsylvania | United States

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