Dynamic impact of heavy long vehicles with equally spaced axles on short-span highway bridges
Extremely large trucks with a weight exceeding the standard require a permit before they are allowed to cross the bridges of a specific route. For the purpose of safety, an escort is often employed to maintain a distance between vehicles and to ensure that the bridge load remain below the allowed maximum. Given that the speed of these large vehicles is quite slow and that the amplitude of vibrations normally declines when the vehicle mass is large, a minor dynamic amplification of the bridge response is expected. However, some of these large trucks have a unique feature characterized by “multiple equally-spaced axles”, something that is uncommon in normal vehicle. The application of axle forces at equal intervals can dynamically excite bridges to a considerable extent, even at low speeds. These “critical” low speeds are estimated a priori from the axle spacing of the truck and the main frequency of vibration of the bridge. This paper demonstrates that when the “critical” speed is unavoidable, a relatively high dynamic allowance must be added to static calculations before granting a permit to a long heavy vehicle.
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