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Spring 4-25-2022


Most transportation departments have recognized and developed procedures to address the ever-increasing weights of trucks traveling on bridges in service today. Transportation agencies also recognize the issues with overheight vehicles’ collisions with bridges, but few stakeholders have definitive countermeasures. Bridges are becoming more vulnerable to collisions from overheight vehicles. The exact response under lateral impact force is difficult to predict. In this paper, nonlinear impact analysis shows that the degree of deformation recorded through the modeling of the unprotected vehicle-girder model provides realistic results compared to the observation from the US-61 bridge overheight vehicle impact. The predicted displacements are 0.229 m, 0.161 m, and 0.271 m in the girder bottom flange (lateral), bottom flange (vertical), and web (lateral) deformations, respectively, due to a truck traveling at 112.65 km/h. With such large deformations, the integrity of an impacted bridge becomes jeopardized, which in most cases requires closing the bridge for safety reasons and rehabilitation. We proposed different sacrificial cushion systems to dissipate the energy of an overheight vehicle impact. The goal was to design and tune a suitable energy-absorbing system that can protect the bridge and possibly reduce stresses in the overheight vehicle, minimizing the consequences of an impact. A material representing a Sorbothane high-impact rubber was chosen and modeled in ANSYS. Out of three sacrificial schemes, a sandwich system exhibited the best results in protecting the bridge and the overheight vehicle. The mitigation system reduced the lateral deflection in the bottom flange by 89%. The system decreased the stresses in the bridge girder and the top portion of the vehicle by 82% and 25%, respectively. The results reveal the capability of the proposed sacrificial system as an effective mitigation system.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Steel and Composite Structures

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