Assessment of provisions for load rating gusset plates in steel truss bridges

Chan Yang, Peng Lou, Hani Nassif

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Many states have load rated their truss bridge gusset plates following the guidelines published in 2009 by the Federal Highway Administration in response to the catastrophic failure of the I-35W Bridge. As the Manual of Bridge Evaluation released new load rating provisions after 2014, the urgency in adopting and applying these mandated provisions became a pending burden for state agencies requiring extensive work to update the ratings of gusset plates. Moreover, this paper argues that the current states’ load rating practices do not involve the rating for the welded gusset plate owing to the lack of established provisions. In addition, the gusset plate with no plans also poses particular challenges for the state agencies. To provide state agencies with better insights on the load rating approach of gusset plates, this paper presents a study that carefully reviewed the states’ current practices and load rating provisions. The results of the study indicate the necessity of adopting the new provisions, as the former load rating methodology exhibited inaccurate results in some cases. Additionally, this paper reviews extensive work done for welded connections and proposes a load rating guidance for welded gusset plates. To deliver better interpretations, a case study is provided for the welded gusset plates. This paper also reviews the evaluation method for deteriorations and staggered bolt patterns with relevant case studies. Lastly, the paper provides guidance on estimating the unknown bolt strength as well as weld metal strength for the gusset plate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransportation Research Record
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameTransportation Research Record
ISSN (Print)0361-1981
ISSN (Electronic)2169-4052

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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