Document Type



Secondary elements such as barriers, sidewalks, and diaphragms may affect the distribution of live load to bridge girders. The objective of this study is to evaluate their effect on girder reliability if these elements are designed to be sufficiently attached to the bridge so as not to detach under traffic live loads. Simple span, two lane structures are considered, with composite steel girders supporting a reinforced concrete deck. Several representative structures are selected, with various configurations of barriers, sidewalks and diaphragms. Bridge analysis is performed using a finite element procedure. Load and resistance parameters are treated as random variables. Random variables considered are composite girder flexural strength, secondary element stiffness, load magnitude (dead load and truck traffic live load), and live load position. It was found that typical combinations of secondary elements have a varying influence on girder reliability, depending on secondary element stiffness and bridge geometry. Suggestions are presented that can account for secondary elements and that provide a uniform level of reliability to bridge girders.


Applied Mechanics | Computer-Aided Engineering and Design | Structural Engineering


NOTICE IN COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLISHER POLICY: This is the final draft of an article published in Journal of Bridge Engineering, 10(2), (2005) © ASCE, available online at: