Approximate Analysis of Horizontally Curved Girder Bridges

Ann L. Fiechtl, Gregory L. Fenves, and Karl H. Frank


The design of multigirder bridge units with horizontal curvature is complicated by the torsional forces induced by the curvature. The proportioning of girders for preliminary design requires an approximate analysis that accounts for the curvature.

This report presents the development and an evaluation of an approximate analysis procedure for curved girder bridges. The V-load method is named becase the effects of curvature are represented by self-equilibrating vertical loads acting on the girders. The V-load method, as implemented in the analysis procedure described in this report, is suitable for approximate analysis of preliminary bridge designs. The analysis procedure includes composite behavior, and allows variable radius of curvature and skew supports. Envelopes of bending moment and shear force due to moving track loads can be generated. The V-load method is evaluated by comparing the approximate response with the response from a more refined finite element analysis for a variety of bridge configurations.

The free Adobe Acrobat Reader can be used to view PDF files.