Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name



Civil and Environmental Engineering


Bridges;concrete;Finite element method;Girders;Live loads;Load distribution


Faouzi Gherib


Khaled Sennah



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Bridge design is a critical aspect of infrastructure development, and its accuracy directly impacts the safety and economic efficiency of projects. In Canada, the Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code (CHBDC) has been used for bridge analysis and design for many years. However, some gaps and limitations were observed in the code upon closer examination. These gaps include concerns about the applicability of load distribution factors for the cellular bridges that fall outside the limiting geometry specified particularly in CHBDC Clause 5.5.3 to treat a cellular bridge as a voided slab bridge that neglect cell distortion (i.e. transverse shear area) in analysis. Additionally, inconsistencies in truck load positioning, and omission of symmetrical truck loading conditions in the analysis that led to the code empirical equations for load distribution factors. To address these critical issues and improve bridge design, a detailed parametric analysis was performed using the grillage method on various concrete multicell bridges, determining moment and shear distribution factors under CHBDC truck loading conditions. The key parameters considered in this study included shear area of transverse grillage members, bridge span, number of design lanes, number of cells and truck loading considered. Results show that CHBDC overestimates the load distribution factors for cellular bridges, especially with a significant margin for moment and shear at the fatigue limit state. Also, cell distortion plays a great role in load distribution factors. Based on the data generated from the parametric study, new constants for the load distribution factors for cellular bridges were developed to design them more economically and reliably.

Available for download on Thursday, September 26, 2024