Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Karl E. Barth.


Recent changes in the design code, spurred by previous laboratory studies, have allowed many state agencies to adopt an empirical method for bridge deck design. The empirical method for design takes into account in plane stresses generated by applying load to the deck. These in plane forces, which in traditional design are ignored, act to strengthen the overall response of the deck.;This design procedure has been adopted and employed by the WVDOH as well as many other state agencies. Recent decking issues, specifically extensive full depth cracking, have led to concerns about other bridges in the inventory and future ones to be constructed. Thus, this project was initiated with the goals of assessing the current design practices of WVDOH bridge decks.;This thesis focuses on evaluating the current empirical deck design used by the WVDOH. This objective is achieved by conducting laboratory test on four full scale models. These models were designed and constructed to WVDOH standards and tested to failure. During the testing data was collected, analyzed and used for benchmark purposes in a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) parametric study. The FEA parametric study allowed a broader range of specimens to be analyzed by changing span length and deck thickness. From the results future recommendations were made on based off of the current design practices.