Influence of Cracking on Deflections of Concrete Box Girder Bridges

Chao Liu, Dong Xu


The problem of cracking and long-term deflection in larger-span prestressed concrete box girder bridges exists throughout the world and has restricted the development of long-span concrete bridges to some extent. However, the understanding of cracking and deflection of concrete box girder bridges is still insufficient and many strengthening methods cannot reach anticipated effect. In this paper, a space-frame lattice model which is used to analyze the stress on the entire cross-section of the box girder bridge, is presented. The stress state of random grid elements in the model may be biaxial in plane. The model simulates the cracking and deflection of pre-stressed concrete box girder bridges. This model was applied for cracking and deflection analysis of the existing concrete box girder bridge with (80+100+80) m spans. The calculation results are compared with the actual status of the bridge. The paper indicates that cracking of girder becomes one of major factors which have influence on deflections of long span prestressed concrete bridges. The space-frame lattice model is an effective tool to analyze the cracking and deflection of prestressed concrete box girder bridges and merits further investigation.


concrete box girder bridge; space frame lattice model; bottom slab cracking; web cracking; deflection; shear stress; principle tensile stress

Full Text:



Barr, P. J; Angomas, F. 2010. Differences between Calculated and Measured Long-Term Deflections in a Prestressed Concrete Girder Bridge, Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities 24(6): 603–609.

Burgoyne, C.; Scantlebury, R. 2006. Why did Palau Bridge Collapse? The Structural Engineer 84(11): 30–37.

Du, G. H. 1994. Analysis of Bridge Structure. Shanghai: Tongji University Press. 236 p. ISBN 7560812856.

Grigorjeva, T.; Juozapaitis, A.; Kamaitis, Z.; Paeglitis, A. 2008. Finite Element Modelling for Static Behaviour Analysis of Suspension Bridges with Varying Rigidity of Main Cables, The Baltic Journal of Road and Bridge Engineering 3(3): 121–128.

Gwoździewicz, P.; Jurkiewiez, B.; Destrebecq, J. F. 2000. Long Term Serviceability of Concrete Structures with Regards to Material Behaviors and Cyclic Loading, in Proc. of the of Structures Congress 2000. Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA: ASCE, 2000: 1–8.

Hu, D. 2005. Intelligent Control on Long-run Deflection for Prestressed Concrete Bridges, in The 2nd International Conference on Structural Health Monitoring of Intelligent Infrastructure. November 16–18, 2005, Shenzhen, P. R. of China. 1563–1569.

Huang, H. D.; Xiang, Z. F.; Zheng, J. L. 2009. Analysis of Differential Shrinkage Deflection for PC Box-Girder Bridges, Journal of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering 31(4): 60–65.

Kaklauskas, G.; Girdžius, R.; Bačinskas, D.; Sokolov, A. 2008. Numerical Deformation Analysis of Bridge Concrete Girders, The Baltic Journal of Road and Bridge Engineering 3(2): 51–56.

Keogh, D. L.; O’Brien, E. J. 1996. Recommendation on the Use of a 3-D Grillage Model for Bridge Deck Analysis, Structural Engineering Review 8(4): 357–366.

Krístek, V.; Bazant, Z. P.; Zich, M.; Kohoutková, A. 2006. Box Girder Bridge Deflections, ACI Concrete International 28(1): 55–63.

Krístek, V.; Kohoutková, A. 2006. Excessive Deflections of Concrete Bridges Affect Safety, Maintenance and Management, in The 3rd International Conference on Bridge Maintenance, Safety and Management. July 16–19, 2006, Porto. 355–356.

Lou, Z. H. 2006. Main Faults in Large Span Beam Bridges, Journal of Highway and Transportation Research and Development 23(4): 84–87. ISSN:1002-0268.0.2006-04-020

Liu, C.; Xu, D; Chen, A. R. 2009. Cause Analysis for Shear Crack and Deflection of Long Span Prestressed Concrete Box-Girder Bridge, Journal of Tongji University 37(1): 1–5.

Liu, C.; Xu, D. 2010. Space Frame Lattice Model for Stress Analysis of Bridge, The Baltic Journal of Road and Bridge Engineering 5(2): 98–103.

O’Brien, E. J.; Keogh, D. L. 1998. Upstand Finite Element Analysis of Slab Bridges, Computers and Structures 69(6): 671–683.

O’Brien, E. J.; Keogh, D. L. 1999. Bridge Deck Analysis. 1st edition. Spon Press. 336 p. ISBN 0419225005.

Qi, D. C.; Zhang, Y, S; Li, Q. 2007. Reason Analysis and Countermeasures for Excessive Deflection of Midspan in Long-Span Continuous Rigid Frame Bridges, Journal of Chongqing Jiaotong University 26(6): 46–49.

Rodriguez, S. 2004. Design of Long Span Concrete Box Girder Bridges: Challenges and Solutions, in Proc. of Structures Congress 2004 “Building on the Past: Securing the Future”. Nashville TN USA: ASCE, 2004: 361–371.

Robertson, I. N. 2005. Prediction of Vertical Deflections for a Long-Span Prestressed Concrete Bridge Structure, Engineering Structures 27(12): 1820–1827.

Shao, F; Pan, D.; Li, F.; Liu, Y. 2011. Effects Analysis of Web Cracks on Long-Term Deformation of Large Span Pre-Stressed Concrete Continuous Box Girder Bridge, Advanced Materials Research (163–167): 1207–1212.

Števula, M.; Vitek, J. L. 1998. Some Details of Long-Term Analysis of Concrete Bridges, in The 2nd International PhD Symposium in Civil Engineering. Budapest, Hungary. 26–28.

Xiang, H. 2001. Theory of Advanced Bridge Structure. Beijing: China Communications Press. 315 p. ISBN 7114037961.

Xie, J.; Wang, G. L.; Zheng, X. H. 2007. State of Art of Long-Term Deflection for Long Span Prestressed Concrete Box-Girder Bridge, Journal of Highway and Transportation Research and Development 24(1): 47–50.

Xu, D. 2008. External Prestressing Technology of Bridge. Beijing: China Communications Press. 333 p. ISBN 9787114073540.

Zhang, F. 2007. Study of Some Key Points of Externally Prestressed Concrete Bridge in Elastic Stage. Master’s Thesis. Tongji University. Shanghai. 118 p.

Zheng, H. B.; Yu, X.; Hu, J.; Yan, Q. 2011. Parameter Sensitivity Analysis of Vertical Deflection for Long-Span Continuous Rigid-Frame Bridge, Advanced Materials Research (163–167): 1500–1504.

DOI: 10.3846/bjrbe.2012.15


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2012 Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU) Press Technika