Environment-Induced Performance of End Concrete Diaphragm in Skewed Semi-Integral Bridges

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Past research has shown that as skewed bridges change temperature, additional lateral movement or forces will occur along with the elongation of the bridge. Even though past research has documented this behavior, lateral movements of semi-integral bridge superstructure associated with temperature effects on bridge skewness have not been well predicted. In this study, the seasonal movements of a 24-year-old semi-integral bridge caused by temperature effects with skewed abutment have been investigated by conducting a series of field measurements on bridges subjected to various environmental climates. The measured data showed that as the bridge heated up, the superstructure tended to move toward the acute corner of the bridge, and the bridge would contract towards its obtuse corner with a negative temperature change. During warm weather, the cracks on the end diaphragm tended to open with a positive temperature change and close with a negative temperature change, which was much more predictable than the cold weather behavior. This behavior confirms that even though the bridge moves linearly with temperature, the end diaphragm response to the temperature depends on the season. Movement of the bridge superstructure from temperature change has caused cracks in the end diaphragm, which are now propagating to the deck. These cracks could damage the bridge enough that it would require repair work in the future. The evidence in this study will help provide a complete picture of seasonal jointless bridge behavior so future semi-integral bridges can be made safer and more efficient.