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Steel Design

LRFD Bridge Design Workshop

June 12, 2007
Yihong Gao, P.E., Bridge Designer
Kevin Western, P.E., Asst. State Bridge Engineer

AASHTO LRFD Specification Updates
MnDOT Steel Bridge Design Policy and
Design Example Updates
Global Stability System
Horizontally Curved Bridge Design

Specification Updates
2004: 3rd Edition of Design Specifications
Significant revisions to Articles 6.10
and 6.11 for flexure of straight steel

2005: Interim Specifications to 3rd Edition

Unified provisions for straight and
horizontally curved steel girders

Specification Updates
New Appendices in 3rd Edition Design
Appendix A
Allows flexural resistance to be greater than My
for composite/non-composite sections in
negative flexural in straight I-girder bridges
Appendix B
Allows moments redistribution over the pier in
straight I-girder bridges

Specification Updates
Appendix A or B is not to be used for
curved or box girder bridges.
Appendix B shall also not be used where
skew is more than 10 or there are
staggered cross-frames at piers.
Appendix C provides detailed flowcharts for
design process.

MnDOT Policy Updates

Use weathering steel for rolled beams,
plate beams, and diaphragms on all steel
Typical steel for MnDOT bridges is Grade
HPS 70W shall be used with caution
because of the limited availability.

Paint System
Painting of weathering steel will be
considered under the following conditions:

End of beams at expansion joints

Low level water crossing
Environment with high humidity
Aesthetic requirement

Plate Size Selection

General rules

NSBA Guidelines
1/16 inch increments for thickness up to 1
1/8 inch increments for thickness 1 to 2.5
1/4 inch increments for thickness 2.5 to 4
Minimize number of plate sizes

Plate Size Selection

Flange plates

Try bottom flange width greater than top flange

Try same thickness for top and bottom flange over
the pier.
Keep top and bottom flange at a constant width
over entire girder length, where practical.
Provide a butt splice when more than 1000
pounds of steel can be saved.

Plate Size Selection

Plate girder example

Plate Size Selection

Web plates

Determine web thickness first to satisfy shear

requirements without intermediate stiffeners.

Reduce web thickness by 1/16 inch increments.

Calculate web steel weight saved and number of
stiffeners added. The cost of one added stiffener
is roughly equal to 1500 pounds of web steel.

Finalize the web thickness by balancing out web

steel saved and stiffeners added.

Plate Size Selection

Web plate of design example


Thickness of Web

Steel Saved

Int. Stiffener










Design Considerations
Design Details
For structure stiffness calculation, use
composite sections (steel beam plus deck)
throughout entire bridge.
For stress calculation, use steel beam plus
deck for positive flexure and use steel
beam plus rebar for negative flexure.

Design Considerations
Positive flexure
MnDOT limits flexural resistance up to the
first yield for all straight I-girder bridges.
There is no need to check section
compactness for composite section in
positive moment.

Design Considerations
Negative Flexure
MnDOT does NOT permit use of Appendix
A (negative moment capacity greater than
My) or Appendix B (moment redistribution)
for any bridges including straight I-girder
bridges .
There is no need to check web slenderness
ratio or flange inertia ratio.

Splice Design

Splice plate size selection

Try flange splice plate sizes where the

difference between the cross sectional
areas of inner plates and that of outer
plates is within 10%.
In addition, try flange splice plate sizes
where the total area of both inner and
outer splice plates is equal to or greater
than that of flange plate.

Splice Design

Connection design

Where splice plates are 3/8 inch thick or

greater, connections may be designed
assuming threads are excluded from the
shear plane.

Connection of Stiffener to
Tension Flange

Curved bridges

Bolted stiffener to tension flange connection

(fatigue category B) shall be used.

Straight bridges

Welded stiffener to tension flange connection

(fatigue category C) is allowed.
Fatigue resistance of base material shall be

Stool and Camber

Stool Height
Without residual camber, CONSTANT stool
height (between the bottom of the deck and
top of the web) should be used.

Residual Camber
Residual camber shall be provided with
straight grades and lengths in excess of
100 feet.

Deck Placement
Sequence Guidelines
More deck cracks have occurred recently
on steel bridges.

MnDOT requires showing the deck

placement sequence on the plan for
continuous steel bridges with span
lengths greater than 150 feet.

Deck Placement
Sequence Guidelines
For continuous steel bridges with spans
between 150 and 200 feet:
The 1st pour starts from abutment to about 0.6 point
of first span;
The 2nd pour starts from about 0.6 point of adjacent
span and proceed toward and terminate at end of
previous placement. Repeat this pattern for all
interior spans;
The last pour shall start from end of bridge to the
end of previous placement.

Deck Placement
Sequence Guidelines
The following figure illustrates the deck
placement sequence for a 3 span bridge.
Pour 1

Pour 2

Pour 3



Deck Placement
Sequence Guidelines
For continuous steel bridges with span lengths
greater than 200 feet
Construction joints at each point of dead load
contraflexure point shall be shown in the deck
placement plan;
Positive moment spans shall be poured prior to
pouring negative moment area;
Longer span between points of contraflexure shall
be placed before shorter adjacent span.

Deck Placement
Sequence Guidelines
The following figure illustrates the deck
placement sequence for a 4 span bridge. The
goal is to minimize upward deflections in
previously placed spans.








Deck Placement
Sequence Guidelines
During construction, pours can be combined
if a pour rate of 60% of the span length per
hour is maintained;
Positive moment pours in adjacent spans
shall be separated by 72 hours;
For unusual span length configurations,
Bridge Office shall be contacted for addition
information on locations of transverse joints.

Deck Placement
Sequence Guidelines
The camber diagram can be developed
without considering the deck
placement sequence.
Always check beam stresses and
possible uplift at supports based on
deck placement sequence.

Erection Requirements

Erection Requirements

For all steel bridge spans over traffic,

the following changes have been added
to current special provisions.

The girders shall be temporarily anchored/braced

prior to diaphragm placement.

When erected bridge spans are over active traffic,

a certified erection plan shall be submitted.

Two or more adjacent girders shall be erected and

braced in accordance with the erection plan
before operations can be suspended.

Additional Erection

For curved steel bridges

Temporary bents are typically required.

The locations of temporary bents shall be

identified on the plan.


Designers should validate that

computer software is updated to
current AASHTO LRFD Specifications.
Designers should confirm that MnDOT
requirements can be addressed by
the software.

Global Stability for a 2 or

3-Girder System

Requirements for checking global


A two or three girder system

Spans over 100 feet

Global Stability

Buckling mode

Plan view: Global System Buckling

Global Stability for a 2 or

3-Girder System

Reasons for checking global stability:

Two-girder system is weak in lateral torsion

rigidity prior to deck placement.

End diaphragms do not typically provide

adequate rigidity to restrain cross-section
from distortion for long span bridges.

Global Stability

Two types of bracing considered:

Lateral bracing of beams

Torsional bracing of beams

Two design criteria for bracing check:

Stiffness requirements
Strength requirements

Global Stability


Fundamentals of Beam Bracing by Joseph

Yura, University of Texas at Austin
AISC Steel Construction Manual, 13th
MnDOT LRFD Bridge Design Manual will
be updated to include information on global
stability requirements.

Global Stability Problem

Design Solutions for Bridge 82032

Temporary ground anchor braces.

Additional bottom flange wind bracing


Additional top flange bracing system.

(rebar is tied to additional shear studs)

Br. 82032

Tie down cables before additional lateral bracing

Br. 82032

Top additional rebar connections

Br. 82032

Bottom bracing system (at far end)

AASHTO LRFD Specifications Updates
MnDOT Steel Bridge Design Policy and
Design Example Updates
Global Stability System
Horizontally Curved Bridge Design

Horizontally Curved Steel


Diaphragm layout at piers

Diaphragm layout in span
Flange and web plate size selection
Diaphragm design

Horizontally Curved Steel


Diaphragm layout at piers

With little or no skew, run diaphragm along

CL pier
With larger skews, need a diaphragm at
bearing point
Diaphragm line can be discontinuous in
pier region

Horizontally Curved Steel


Diaphragm layout in span

Generally about a 20-25 ft spacing

Continuous across bridge
Space away from abutment bearing
stiffeners by a minimum of 3 feet

Horizontally Curved Steel


Horizontally Curved Steel



Past practice


Straight girder with reduced allowable
Include deck in the analysis if possible

Are current methods better than the past?

Horizontally Curved Steel


In past we did not fine tune analysis

as we seem to do today
This fine tuning creates issues with:

Uneven flange sizes between beams

Stiffer diaphragms with bigger connections
Fabrication concerns/difficulties

Horizontally Curved Steel


We recommend the following process

for designing curved steel bridges:

Run a straight girder with reduced

allowable (about 90% Fy)
Use those girder sizes for your initial model
with appropriate diaphragm spacing
Modify all beams sizes if stresses are too
high or too low
Use this draft design as starting point

Horizontally Curved Steel


Flange plate size grouping

Keep at least two girders with the same

flange size
Group as much as possible (2 to 4 groups)
Its fine to understress a few beams

It keeps the diaphragms from taking more load

than needed

Horizontally Curved Steel


Web size and intermediate stiffeners

Use criteria for straight girders

At pier or abutment supports, a few
additional stiffeners can allow a thinner
Sometimes a smaller web in the span and
a larger one at the pier is the best solution

Also use for straight girders

Horizontally Curved Steel



Weld details of diaphragm connections

shall be considered as Fatigue Category E
Allow 15% overstress for fatigue
Bent plate vs. cross frame
AASHTO angle bracing requirements

5x5 angle has max thickness of in.

Horizontally Curved Steel


Connect diaphragm
angle members to
the gusset plate
with welds
B-detail B408 is
being revised