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Fatigue failures have occurred in the orthotropic decks of bridges after less than 20 years in service. One welded connection to have suffered from premature fatigue cracking is the early design of connection between the longitudinal and transverse stiffeners. The objectives of this research were to assess the fatigue performance of more recent designs of connection and, if appropriate, to suggest design improvements. The research involved the static load testing of a full-scale bridge deck panel and the measurement of strains around three different designs of connection. Specimens representing two of the connections were tested under constant amplitude fatigue loading and one type was tested under variable amplitude loading. Measurements were also made on a bridge under traffic loading to assess the effect of the bridge deck surfacing. It is concluded that none of the the three designs of connection assessed, and currently in use in major European bridges, meets the 120-year design life required for UK bridges when assessed by the BS 5400 code of practice for fatigue. However, this assessment excluded the effect of the bridge deck surfacing which is expected to increase the life of the connection in service. A "roptimized" design is suggested but will require a similar testing programme to assess its performance.

Additional information

Authors: BEALES C, Transport and Road Research Laboratory, Crowthorne (GB)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 12792 EN (1990) 156 pp., FS, ECU 12.50
Availability: (2)
ISBN: ISBN 92-826-1505-7
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