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Two similar bridges constructed with a live load continuous connection were tested for live load distribution and joint continuity. Girder distribution factors (GDFs) were compared to AASHTO equivalent values. For positive moments on all girders as for negative moments on interior girders, results using AASHTO equivalent GDFs were found to be generally conservative. However, for negative moments on exterior girders, test results exceeded AASHTO values, with 2-lane results significantly so. GDF results were verified with a FEA model, which produced similar behavior to the field tests. With respect to joint continuity, it is estimated that a simple span would produce a maximum positive moment about 7% higher than the actual structure, while a completely continuous structure would produce a maximum positive moment about 16% lower than the actual structure. For negative moments, the actual structure experienced about 28% of that of a continuous structure. Shear reactions were also investigated. Recommendations are proposed for evaluating transverse distribution of live load as well as the longitudinal distribution of live load, accounting for the effect of joint continuity.


Applied Mechanics | Structural Engineering


This is the final draft of an article published in Journal of Bridge Engineering, 21(5), (2016) © ASCE, available online at: