Dynamic Load Allowance Provisions for Box Culverts with Low Fill Depth

  • A. Wells
  • H. W. ShentonIII
  • K. N. ManahilohEmail author
  • G. Wenczel
Technical Paper


It is well established that vehicular traffic traveling over bridge-like structures can impart a dynamic load effect that is greater than vehicles’ static weight alone. In order to account for this increased load, bridge design codes use a factor known as the dynamic load allowance (IM) to amplify static vehicular live loads. In the current version of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Manual for Bridge Evaluation (MBE), reductions in IM are allowed for bridges having span lengths greater than 12.2 m with road surfaces in good condition. In addition, the current AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications allow for a reduced IM for culverts with higher fill depth. However, many culverts have neither span lengths greater than 12.2 m nor higher fill depths and thus are not eligible for such IM reductions. This paper investigated whether similar IM reductions can be considered for culverts with smaller span lengths and fill depths. The field experiments conducted suggest that culverts having span lengths less than 12.2 m and fill depths less than 0.5 m could be considered for similar IM reductions allowed by the MBE.


Dynamic load allowance Load amplification Buried culverts Load rating Fill depth 



The authors of this paper gratefully acknowledge the support of the Delaware Department of Transportation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Delaware Department of Transportation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Wells
    • 1
  • H. W. ShentonIII
    • 2
  • K. N. Manahiloh
    • 2
    Email author
  • G. Wenczel
    • 2
  1. 1.Collins Engineers, Inc.Port ArthurUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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