Effects of Wingwall Configurations on the Behavior of Integral Abutment Bridges

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This research includes parametric studies performed with the use of three-dimensional nonlinear finite element models in order to investigate the effects of cantilever wingwall configurations on the behavior of integral abutment bridges located on straight alignment and zero skew. The parametric studies include all three types of cantilever wingwalls; inline, flared, and U-shaped wingwalls. Bridges analyzed vary in length from 100 to 1200 feet. Soil-structure and soil-pile interaction are included in the analysis. Loadings include dead load in combination with temperature loads in both rising and falling temperatures. Plasticity in the integral abutment piles is investigated by means of nonlinear plasticity models. Cracking in the abutments and stresses in the reinforcing steel are investigated by means of nonlinear concrete models. The effects of wingwall configurations are assessed in terms of stresses in the integral abutment piles, cracking in the abutment walls, stresses in the reinforcing steel of abutment walls, and axial forces induced in the steel girders.

The models developed are analyzed for three types of soil behind the abutments and wingwalls; dense sand, medium dense sand, and loose sand. In addition, the models consider both the case of presence and absence of predrilled holes at the top nine feet of piles. The soil around the piles below the predrilled holes consists of very stiff clay. The results indicate that for the stresses in the piles, the critical load is temperature contraction and the most critical parameter is the use of predrilled holes. However, for both the stresses in the reinforcing steel and the axial forces induced in the girders, the critical load is temperature expansion and the critical parameter is the bridge length. In addition, the results indicate that the use of cantilever wingwalls in integral abutment bridges results in an increase in the magnitude of axial forces in the steel girders during temperature expansion and generation of pile plasticity at shorter bridge lengths compared to bridges built without cantilever wingwalls.