Impact of bridge ratings on the timber transportation industry.
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Impact of bridge ratings on the timber transportation industry.

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  • English

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    • Abstract:
      The logging industry plays an important role in the State of Wisconsin’s economy. Additionally, the condition of some of Wisconsin’s bridges, as

      well as the state of our nation’s bridges, is deteriorated due to lack of funding for replacement. As a result of this, bridges are being load posted

      which prohibits travel over them by many commercial vehicles. One industry in particular that is of interest to this project is the forest

      products/timber industry, but Wisconsin’s dairy industry is also extensively affected. As a result of the load posting, hauling routes are longer due to

      detours and it is costing the timber industry more money to haul raw timber. The purpose of this project was to investigate the current load ratings of

      bridges and look at the effects that logging vehicles have on single span bridges. Following these analyses, solutions to help alleviate some of the

      challenges the timber industry is experiencing due to load posted bridges were examined.

      Currently, bridges in Wisconsin are load rated based on specified unique design vehicles such has the HS20. This project looked into how the

      moment and shear effects of logging trucks compared to the effects of common design and State vehicles. Thirty-one logging vehicles with varying

      configurations and gross weights were measured and used in this comparison analysis.

      In addition to the logging truck analysis and comparison, several bridges that are of major concern to a prominent timber association in Wisconsin, the

      Great Lake Timber Professionals Association, were investigated and load rated using the two currently available methods, the Load Factor Rating

      method and the Load and Resistance Factor Rating method. This was done to better understand the methods used for load rating and to compare the

      load ratings from this project with current load postings.

      Lastly, possible solutions to the current issues the Great Lake’s Timber Professionals Association and the timber industry are experiencing were

      investigated. The first solution was looking at optimization of the current logging vehicles including optimizing the distribution of weight on the axles

      as well as optimizing the axle configuration on the truck to decrease the effects of the trucks on bridges. Additionally, the amount of gross weight

      reduction for timber trucks that would be necessary to reduce effects to a level equivalent to the design vehicles was calculated.

      The final solution that was investigated was looking into potential economical bridge strengthening options. The main option that was considered was

      the use of Mechanically Fastened Fiber Reinforced Polymer Strips as a strengthening option for reinforced concrete bridges. This strengthening

      technique has been previously utilized successfully in Missouri. Wisconsin bridge B380513, which is load posted and a large concern to the logging

      industry has been chosen and examined as a candidate for strengthening using this technique

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