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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Nadim Wehbe


The determination of the collision force required to design a bridge column under heavy vehicle impact is important to consider nowadays since this type of impact has a major implication on transportation facilities and could lead to bridge collapse. Current AASHTO-LRFD Bridge Design Specification (AASHTO, 2012) specifies a design impact force of 600 kips applied horizontally at 5-ft above ground level. The majority of highway bridges in the United States were constructed before the rise of impact force design requirements. In regions where significant lateral forces, such as seismic and ice force, on bent columns are ignorable, a low lateral force demand was employed to design the bridge columns. In addition, the impact load is impulsive and its effects may differ from the effects of static lateral loads. As a result of these concerns, finite element analysis strategies have been conducted to assess the structural performance of both the as-built and retrofitted bridge bents of bridge number 51-065-150, located on I-29 highway in South Dakota, during the collision events. Two types of analysis were employed during this project; dynamic analysis and pushover analysis (nonlinear static analysis). The dynamic analysis was conducted using LS-DYNA to obtain a number of parameters; peak dynamic force, energy conservation, the relationship between velocity, impact force, and the displacement at different points of interest on the bridge bent. While the pushover analysis was conducted by employing SAP2000 to estimate the bridge bent lateral load capacity. In the first phase of this study, an experimental test was carried out to estimate the lateral load capacity of one-third scale specimen of the bridge bent. A comparison between the pushover analysis and the experimental results was carried out to provide a good estimate of the lateral load capacity. The computational results were analyzed, the effect of dynamic impact was evaluated, and the relationship between the vehicle speed and the impact force was studied.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Concrete bridges -- South Dakota -- Foundations and piers -- Testing
Lateral loads


Includes bibliographical references (pages 103-104)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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In Copyright