Monitoring structural responses during load testing of reinforced concrete bridges: a review

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Nowadays, with the aging of the bridges and the advancements in technology, load testing has emerged as an effective method to assess existing concrete bridges with missing information, or where analytical methods do not provide an accurate assessment. Two types of load tests are identified: diagnostic load tests and proof load tests. Both rely on field measurements of parameters or structural responses of the bridge during the test. A diagnostic load test measures the response of the bridge so that analytical models can be calibrated and evaluated. In a proof load test, the bridge directly demonstrates that it can carry a certain load. Since large loads are applied, the bridge needs to be carefully monitored. In this case, monitoring the measurements provide a warning to avoid damage. This paper reviews the literature on reported load tests and the measurement techniques used during these tests. It also includes a review of traditional and recently developed sensing technologies. Finally, the measurement requirements for diagnostic and proof load tests are given as well as a flow chart to guide engineers in the selection process of appropriate monitoring and measurement techniques during load tests. This paper can serve engineers during the preparation of a load test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1558-1580
Number of pages23
JournalStructure and Infrastructure Engineering
Issue number10-11
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • concrete bridge
  • diagnostic load tests
  • Load testing
  • measuring techniques
  • proof load tests
  • sensor selection

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