Heavy Vehicle Load Simulator for Bridge Deck Testing Application: Volume II

Download Final Report

CAIT project no.: FHWA-NJ-2016-005

Fiscal Year: 2010/2011

Status: Final

Principal investigator(s): Patrick Szary, Ph.D., Franklin Moon, Ph.D., Andrés M. Roda, P.E., Gordana Herning, Ph.D., P.E. (Rutgers CAIT); David Timian, P.E. (Applied Research Associates)

Performing organization(s): Rutgers CAIT

Managing organization: Rutgers CAIT

In cooperation with: New Jersey Department of Transportation, Bridge Engineering and Infrastructure Management
Partner project manager: E. David Lambert III, Nat Kasbekar, Paul Thomas

In cooperation with: Applied Research Associates
Partner project manager: David Timian, P.E.

Supported by: FHWA-New Jersey Division
Client contact/manager: Robert Clark

Supported by: New Jersey Department of Transportation, Bureau of Research
Client contact/manager: Kimbrali Davis


Given the importance of overcoming the challenges associated with aging and deteriorating bridges, and the need for a full-scale proving ground for evaluation of new and advanced materials and devices, CAIT has procured full-scale load testing equipment. The Heavy Vehicle Load Simulator for Bridge Deck Testing Application is one-of-a-kind testing equipment that will evaluate full-scale bridge elements and bridge decks in an accelerated manner.

CAIT collaborated with Applied Research Associates (ARA) to prepare, design, and fabricate the heavy vehicle load simulator. The equipment will evaluate the samples by applying realistic traffic and environmental loading conditions in a greatly compressed timeframe, simulating 15 years of deterioration in six months (30 fold). This equipment, for the first time, will allow scientific study of deterioration processes on fullscale bridges. Since deterioration processes advance over long durations and at a glacial timescale, time compression is highly desirable. This laboratory’s innovative methods to accelerate deterioration processes—without distorting them—will provide bridge owners with critical information in the nearterm.

The equipment is a large complex system with a 125′ long by 75′ wide footprint and stands 13’6″ tall. The equipment consists of a load chassis applying a 60,000-pound load in an enclosed environmental chamber that weathers the test sample, simulating seasonal temperature fluctuations (0°F to 104°F) and applying deicers (as per current practice during winter months).

The physical and environmental loading on the test specimens will simulate actual stress and impact levels exerted by truck traffic on bridge decks and superstructure element that normally takes place over decades, but do so  at a greatly accelerated pace.

Read Volume I of the report.