Triage method for load rating bridge size two-cell reinforced concrete box culverts for the AASHTO LRFD design load

Hossein Sharifi, Abheetha Peiris, Issam Harik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reinforced concrete bridge size box culverts (RCBCs), with structure length greater than or equal to 6.1 m (20 ft), are an integral part of the transportation infrastructure. Load rating RCBCs is essential, and the critical component is generally the top slab. The objective of this study is to propose a triage methodology to quickly and conservatively determine the rating factor (RF) for the top slab of a two-cell RCBC. The derivation of the demand equations is illustrated in this manuscript for the top slab and the AASHTO HL-93 live load. The finite element program CANDE is used to evaluate the influence of the cell clear height (H), cell clear span (S), fill height (HF), and the backfill modulus (E) on the demand loads. Multiple regression analyses showed that H had no significant effect on the dead load demands, while H and E had no significant effect to the live load demands. Conservative linear demand equations (LDEs) are presented to calculate the dead and live load demands leading to a quick determination of the RF. LDEs for single and multi-cell culverts can be derived following the LDE procedure outlined herein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1248
Number of pages14
JournalStructure and Infrastructure Engineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the project was provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) through grant FRT 198. The authors are grateful for the guidance provided by Ms. Anne Irish, Ms. Erin Van Zee, Ms. Dora Alexander, Mr. Josh Rogers, and Mr. David Steele of KYTC. The assistance of Dr. Akram Jawdhari with CANDE, and Dr. Charlie Sun, Mr. Aaron Cole, and Mr. Ethan Russel with load testing, is very much appreciated. The authors deeply appreciate the guidance of Dr. Michael G. Katona, the developer of CANDE software.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Box culverts
  • buried structures
  • concrete structures
  • infrastructure
  • inspection
  • load rating
  • loads

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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