Abstract: A refined load rating analysis is performed on four reinforced concrete box culverts using a combination of 3-D finite element analysis and diagnostic load testing. Three of these culverts were constructed prior to the 1940s whereas the fourth one was constructed in 1985. Based on the conventional rating analysis procedures, majority of these culverts would currently be posted for North Carolina legal loads. Culvert types included in this project are comprised of double, triple and quadruple barrels that are either skewed or square and having their unique geometric, material and structural characteristics. The results of the refined load rating procedure indicate that depending on the actual physical condition of the culverts, field measurements, and load test data, the controlling rating factors may increase by up to 270% and decrease by up to 10% when compared with the results of the conventional rating analysis procedures.
Keywords: Reinforced concrete box culvert, finite element analysis, diagnostic load testing, load rating, field instrumentation, soil-structure interaction, fill height, dynamic amplification