Impact of Overweight Vehicles (with Heavy Axle Loads) on Bridge Deck Deterioration

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
December 2010
March 2011
June 2011
September 2011
Research Brief Final Report

Primary Investigator

Jian Zhao
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
PO Box 784
Milwaukee, WI 53211


Overweight vehicles can have heavy axle loads (e.g., 72kips found in a previous study). The heavy axle loads, combined with a large gross weight may create micro-cracks in the concrete, and the accumulation of such damage along with environmental attacks can accelerate the deterioration of bridge decks. The proposed project aims to quantify the impact of heavy axle loads on bridge decks using combined numerical simulation and laboratory tests. The numerical simulation provides the level of compressive stresses in concrete deck, which will be reproduced to concrete cylinder specimens in laboratory. The specimens will then be subjected to freeze/thaw (F/T) actions, and the permeability of these concrete samples will be evaluated. The obtained information will help to regulate overweight vehicles and lead to more detailed research that benefits future bridge deign and maintenance.


The project will investigate the impact of overweight vehicles, especially those with heavy axle loads on the deterioration of concrete bridge decks.


  1. Literature review on the deterioration of bridge decks
  2. Durability tests of concrete specimens after being
    subjected to compressive stresses.
  3. Finite element of typical bridges under overweight
    vehicles with high axle loads
  4. Implementation of results on practice and future research

Project Information

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Dates: October 1, 2010 – September 30, 2011
  • Budget: $75,000
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student and two undergraduates
  • Modal Orientation: Highway
  • Project ID: CFIRE 04-06
Print Friendly