Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Samir N. Shoukry.


Structural capacity evaluation of bridges is an increasingly important topic in the effort to deal with the deteriorating infrastructure. Most bridges are evaluated through subjective visual inspection and conservative theoretical rating. Diagnostic load test has been recognized as an effective method to accurately assess the carrying capacity of bridges. Traditional wired sensors and data acquisition (DAQ) systems suffer drawbacks of being labor intensive, high cost, and time consumption in installation and maintenance. For those reasons, very few load tests have been conducted on bridges.;This study aims at developing a low-cost wireless bridge load testing & rating system that can be rapidly deployed on bridges for structural evaluation and load rating. Commercially available wireless hardware is integrated with traditional analogue sensors and the appropriate rating software is developed. The wireless DAQ system can work with traditional strain gages, accelerometers as well as other voltage producing sensors. A wireless truck position indicator (WVPI) is developed and used for measuring the truck position during load testing. The software is capable of calculating the theoretical rating factors based on AASHTO Load Resistance Factor Rating (LRFR) codes, and automatically produces the adjustment factor through load testing data. A simplified finite element model was used to calculate deflection & moment distribution factors in order to reduce the amount of instrumentation used in field tests. The system was used to evaluate the structural capacity of Evansville Bridge in Preston County, WV. The results show that the wireless bridge load testing & rating system can effectively be implemented to evaluate the real capacity of bridges with remarkable advantages: low-cost, fast deployment and smaller crew.