Abstract: This paper presents the results of a finite element (FE) study on the analysis of reinforced concrete decks in multi-cell box girder bridges under wheel loading. The deck bending moments were investigated for typical multi-cell box girder bridges with various overhang widths and girder spacings. A parametric study related to the tyre pressure distribution showed that a single uniform tyre pressure distribution produces maximum moment effects in reinforced concrete (R/C) decks. The FE analysis showed that the AASHTO LRFD and Standard Specifications methods overestimated the overhang transverse negative bending moments for overhang widths between 105 cm (3.5 ft) and 165 cm (5.5 ft) and the transverse positive bending moment for girder spacings between 3 m (10 ft) and 4.2 m (14 ft). It is concluded that the overestimated moments in the bridge specifications are due to the specified effective width.
Keywords: Box girders, R/C decks, Finite element method, Wheel loads, Tyre pressure distribution