The objective of this project was to develop guidelines for the nondestructive load testing of highway bridges in order to augment or enhance the analytical bridge rating process. Bridge testing is often used as a research tool and, to a lesser extent, as a method to determine bridge load-carrying capacity. Typical tests require costly equipment and expertise normally not available to bridge owners. From previous bridge tests, it has been noted that many structures possess greater load-carrying capacity than can be predicted by conventional analytical load rating procedures. Therefore, there may be significant gains if standardized test and rating procedures can be developed. This project was initiated with the intent of providing such guidance on methods of load testing and for the incorporation of the load test results into the bridge load capacity rating process.
The research resulted in a report that provided a comprehensive review of literature related to bridge load testing and a summary of the present status of load-test technology. In addition, the report contains a draft procedure for performing some of the more common nondestructive load tests. However, the report did not completely cover all steps necessary for developing a load-rating procedure. NCHRP Project 12-28(13)A, Bridge Rating Through Nondestructive Load Testing, was initiated, in part, because of this.
As much of the material in the agency report will be used in Project 12-28(13)A, it will not be published in the regular NCHRP series.