Wisconsin Study on the Impact of OSOW Vehicles on Complex Bridges

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
March 2014
September 2015
Final Report

Primary Investigators

PI: Mike Oliva and Co-PI: Teresa Adams
oliva@engr.wisc.edu; adams@engr.wisc.edu


The use of special purpose highway vehicles, over the legal limit in size and in weight, is increasing as industry grows and large items must be shipped over highways. The freight on those vehicles includes pressure vessels and transformers used in power plants, boilers, military hardware, and more recently components for wind turbine construction. Such vehicles may weigh 5 to 6 times the normal legal truck weight. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is asked to provide special permits for the vehicles along a specified pathway. Because of the unusual configuration of the vehicles, it is a time consuming job for the agency since simple analysis methods for determining effects on complex bridges subjected to those overloads are not well established and the possibility of errors in estimating the impact of the loads on these structures could affect safety. A simplified analysis method to predict the effects of overload vehicles on normal girder span bridge systems has been successfully developed through a project sponsored by the Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research (CFIRE) working with WisDOT. The work proposed in this project aims to help WisDOT in evaluating the impact of oversize over weight (OSOW) vehicles on the unusual complex bridges in the State.


The proposed work will focus on the development of accurate bridge analysis models for a set of identified complex bridges. Vehicles over 400kips in total weight will be considered as the main load types considered but the analysis will also include response to the standard AASHTO LRFD Design Truck as a basis for comparison of effects.


  1. Literature review
  2. Develop a schedule for field testing
  3. Develop analytic models for the selected bridges
  4. Identify data to be collected from the field
  5. Test instrumentation
  6. Analysis verification
  7. Development of simplified analysis
  8. Development of analysis guidelines
  9. Final Report

Project Information

  • Duration: 31 months
  • Dates: 6/1/2013 – 12/31/2015
  • Budget: $270,000 in matching funds
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student and one undergraduate
  • Modal Orientation: Highway
  • Project ID: CFIRE 08-03
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