As of January 1999, under European Union ruling, 40 tonne vehicles have been allowed on UK roads, leading to a challenging programme of bridge assessment. In order to determine the true load carrying capacity of bridges and to avert a vast programme of unnecessary bridge strengthening and replacement schemes, bridge owners are turning increasingly to load testing. As very few resources exist on the subject, the National Steering Committee for the Load Testing of Bridges was created to produce authoritative guidance to enable practising engineers to apply load testing techniques to existing bridges.
The Committee's state-of-the-art guidelines are contained in this definitive book. They are not prescriptive and are accompanied by background information so that there is a degree of flexibility to suit different types of bridges and situations. The resulting methodology is not restricted to apparently understrength bridges but is also applicable to checking the performance of newly constructed bridges. Practising engineers can now benefit from authoritative guidance on the safe conduct of supplementary load testing. Most importantly, the guidelines provide a tool to aid the identification of structural actions that provide additional strengths so that apparently understrength bridges can be shown to have sufficient load carrying capacity.
Guidelines for the Supplementary Load Testing of Bridges will enable engineers to determine:
• when it is appropriate to consider the use of supplementary load testing
• the level of risk, both public safety and economic, associated with load testing
• how to plan and carry out a load test including the level of expertise necessary, the appropriate loading methods and the type and quantity of instrumentation required.
This much needed report fills a gap in the available codes and will be an invaluable resource for practising engineers in the planning and implementation of bridge load testing.