Project 1.13: Structural Integrity, Safety, and Durability of Critical Members and Connections of Old Railroad Bridges under Dynamic Service Loads and Conditions

Structural Integrity, Safety, and Durability of Critical Members and Connections of Old Railroad Bridges under Dynamic Service Loads and Conditions


Project Summary

Most of the New England railway bridges were designed and built more than a century ago with outdated design codes and materials. The objective of this research project is to investigate the structural behavior of critical members and connections, such as eye-bars, pins, and gusset plates, of old truss-type steel railway bridges in the Northeast region under dynamic structural response factors such as service load, environmental conditions, and material aging. The proposed project will establish a systematic framework to apply analytical, computational, and experimental/field testing techniques to locate, evaluate, and mitigate the damage in the connections between steel members in old railroad bridges. Starting with a critical review of the existing data of past connections issues and failure from selected bridges, the research team will work closely with New England’s Department of Transportation and railroad companies to generate reliable data recording and evaluation of bridge type versus critical members and connection problems, existing mitigation methods, and current repair techniques. Finite Element (FE) Models will be used to establish parameters to identify and analyze possible critical members and connections. Similarly, the research will focus on the detailed local analysis of those critical connections, with an emphasis on dynamic behavior, impact, and material aging. The data collected from the field tests of selected bridges using suitable sensors will be used to validate and verify the global and local FE models of the critical members and connections. Finally, different available connection strengthening, and anti-wear methods will be evaluated to check their effects on extending the bridge’s life.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Ramesh Malla


University of Connecticut

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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, University Transportation Centers Program, Department of Transportation, University of Connecticut

Implementation of Research Outcomes:

This project is in its initial research phase. Implementation of research outcomes will be reported upon completion of the research outputs.

Impacts and Benefits of Implementation:

This project is in its research phase. Impacts and benefits of the research will be reported after the implementation phase.

Printable Project Information Sheet

December 2021 Quarterly Progress Report

March 2022 Quarterly Progress Report

June 2022 Quarterly Progress Report

September 2022 Quarterly Progress Report