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Engineering Structures 24 (2002) 639648

www.elsevier.com/locate/engstruct

Determination of design moments in bridges

constructed by balanced cantilever method
H.-G. Kwak *, J.-K. Son
Department of Civil Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology,
373-1 Kusong-dong, Yusong-gu, Taejon 305-701, South Korea
Received 26 March 2001; received in revised form 21 August 2001; accepted 30 October 2001

Abstract
This paper introduces an equation to calculate the design moments in reinforced concrete (RC) bridges constructed by the balanced
cantilever method. Through time-dependent analyses of RC bridges, considering the construction sequence and creep deformation
of concrete, structural responses related to the member forces are reviewed. On the basis of the compatibility condition at every
construction stage, a basic equation which can describe the moment variation with time in the balanced cantilever construction is
derived. It is then extended to take into account the moment variation according to changes in construction steps. By using the
introduced relation, the design moment and its variation over time can easily be obtained with only the elastic analysis results, and
without additional time-dependent analyses considering the construction sequences. In addition, the design moments determined by
the introduced equation are compared with the results from a rigorous numerical analysis with the objective of establishing the
relative efficiencies of the introduced equation. Finally, a more reasonable guideline for the determination of design moments is
Keywords: Balanced cantilever method; RC bridges; Construction sequence; Creep; Design moment

1. Introduction
In accordance with the development of industrial
society and global economic expansion, the construction
of long-span bridges has increased. Moreover, the construction methods have undergone refinement, and they
have been further developed to cover many special
cases, such as progressive construction of cantilever
bridges and span-by-span construction of simply supported or continuous spans. Currently, among these construction methods, the balanced cantilever construction
of reinforced concrete box-girder bridges has been
recognized as one of the most efficient methods of building bridges without the need for falsework. This method
has great advantages over other kinds of construction,
particularly in urban areas where temporary shoring
would disrupt traffic and service below, in deep gorges,

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +82-42-869-3621; fax: +82-42-8693610.

E-mail address: khg@cais.kaist.ac.kr (H.-G. Kwak).

and over waterways where falsework would not only be

expensive but also a hazard.
However, the design and analysis of bridges constructed by the balanced cantilever method (FCM)
require the consideration of the internal moment redistribution which takes place over the service life of a structure because of the time-dependent deformation of concrete and changes in the structural system repeated
during construction. This means that the analysis of
bridges considering the construction sequence must be
performed to preserve the safety and serviceability of the
bridge. All the related bridge design codes [1,2] have
also mentioned the consideration of the internal moment
redistribution due to creep and shrinkage of concrete
when the structural system is changed during construction.
Several studies have dealt with the general topics of
design and analysis of segmentally erected bridges,
while a few studies have been directed toward the analysis of the deflection and internal moment redistribution
in segmental bridges . Alfred and Nicholas 
investigated the time-dependent deformation of cantil-

0141-0296/02/\$ - see front matter 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S 0 1 4 1 - 0 2 9 6 ( 0 1 ) 0 0 1 2 8 - 6

640

ever construction bridges both before and after closure,

and Cruz et al.  introduced a nonlinear analysis
method for the calculation of the ultimate strength of
bridges. Articles on the design, analysis and construction
of segmental bridges have been published by many
researchers, and detailed comparisons have been made
between analytical results and responses measured in
actual structures [7,8].
Moreover, development of sophisticated computer
programs for the analysis of segmental bridges considering the time-dependent deformation of concrete has been
followed . Most analysis programs, however, have
some limitations in wide use because of complexities in
practical applications. Consequently, a simple formula
for estimating the internal moment redistribution due to
creep and shrinkage of concrete, which is appropriate for
use by a design engineer in the primary design of
bridges, has been continuously required. Trost and Wolff
 introduced a simple formula which can simulate
internal moment redistribution with a superposition of
the elastic moments occurring at each construction step.
A similar approach has been presented by the Prestressed
Concrete Institute (PCI) and the Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI) on the basis of the force equilibrium and the
rotation compatibility at the connecting point ; however, these formulas do not adequately address the
changing structural system because of several simplifying assumptions adopted.
In this paper, a simple, but effective, formula is introduced to calculate the internal moment redistribution in
segmental bridges after completion of construction. With
previously developed computer programs [8,12,12],
many parametric studies for bridges erected by the balanced cantilever method are conducted, and correlation
studies between the numerical results obtained with
those obtained by the introduced formula are included
to verify the applicability of the formula. Finally, reasonable guidelines to determine the internal design
moments, which are essential in selecting a proper initial
section, are proposed.

2. Construction sequence analysis

Every nonlinear analysis algorithm consists of four
basic steps: the formulation of the current stiffness
matrix, the solution of the equilibrium equations for the
displacement increments, the stress determination of all
elements in the model, and the convergence check. Previous papers [8,11,12] presented an analytical model to
predict the time-dependent behavior of bridge structures.
Experimental verification and correlation studies
between analytical and field testing results were conducted to verify the efficiency of the proposed numerical
model. The rigorous time-dependent analyses in this
paper are performed with the analytical model intro-

duced. Details to the analytical model can be found in

previous papers [8,11,12].
Balanced cantilever construction is the term used for
when a phased construction of a bridge superstructure
starts from previously constructed piers cantilevering out
to both sides. Each cantilevered part of the superstructure is tied to a previous one by concreting a key segment
and post-tensioning tendons. It is thus incorporated into
the permanent continuous structure; consequently the
internal moment is continuously changed according to
the construction sequence and the changing structural
system. To review the structural response due to the
change in the construction sequence, three different
cases of FCM 1, FCM 2 and FCM 3, shown in Fig. 1,
are selected in this paper.
For the time-dependent analysis of bridges considering the construction sequence, a five-span continuous
bridge is selected as an example structure. This bridge
has a total length of 150 m with an equal span length
of 30 m, and maintains a prismatic box-girder section
along the span length. The assumed material and sectional properties are taken from a real bridge and are
summarized in Table 1. The creep deformation of concrete is considered on the basis of the ACI creep with
an ultimate creep coefficient of fcr=2.35 .
As shown in Fig. 1, the time interval between each
construction step is assumed to be 50 days. FCM 1 is
designed to describe the construction sequence in which
construction of all the cantilever parts of the superstructure is finished first at the reference time t=0 day. The
continuity of the far end spans and center span follows
at t=50 days, and then the construction of the superstructure is finally finished at t=100 days by concreting the
key segments at the midspans of the second and fourth
spans. FCM 2 describes the continuity process from the
far end spans to the center span, and FCM 3 the stepby-step continuity of the proceeding spans from a far
end span. The corresponding bending moments at typical
construction steps are shown in Figs. 24, where TS
(total structure) means that all the spans are constructed
at once at the reference time t=0 day.
After construction of each cantilever part, the negative
moment at each pier reaches M=wl2/8=1160 (tonFm)
(l=30 m), and this value is maintained until the structural
system changes by the connection of an adjacent span.
The connection of an adjacent span, however, causes an
elastic moment redistribution because the structural system moves from the cantilevered state to the overhanging simply supported structure (see Fig. 1a). Nevertheless, there is no internal moment redistribution by
creep deformation of concrete in a span if the structural
system maintains the statically determinate structure. As
shown in Fig. 1, the statically indeterminate structure
begins at t=100 days in all the structural systems (FCM
13). Therefore, it is expected that the dead load bending

H.-G. Kwak, J.-K. Son / Engineering Structures 24 (2002) 639648

Fig. 1.

641

Construction sequences in balanced cantilever bridges: (a) FCM 1; (b) FCM 2; (c) FCM 3.

Table 1
Material and sectional properties used in application
AC

rsc=rst

WD

fc

fsy

ES

4.5 m2

0.62%

10.3 t/m

400 kg/cm2

4000 kg/cm2

2.1106 kg/cm2

moments in the structures start the time-dependent

moment redistribution after t=100 days.
Comparing the numerical results obtained in Figs. 2
4, the following can be inferred: (1) the time-dependent
moment redistribution causes a reduction of negative
moments near the supports and an increase of positive
moments at the points of closure at the midspans; (2)
the final moment at an arbitrary time t after completing
the construction converges to a value within the region
bounded by two moment envelopes for the final stati-

cally determinate stage at t=100 days and for the initially

completed five-span continuous structure (TS in Figs. 2
4); and (3) the final moments in the structure depend on
the order that the joints are closed in the structures,
which means that the magnitude of the moment redistribution due to concrete creep may depend on the construction sequence, even in balanced cantilever bridges.
Under dead load as originally built, elastic displacement and rotation at the cantilever tips occur. If the midspan is not closed, these deformations increase over time

642

Fig. 2.

Fig. 3.

Fig. 4.

due to concrete creep without any increase in the internal

moment. On the other hand, as the central joints are
closed, the rotations at the cantilever tips are restrained
while introducing the restraint moments. Moreover, this
restraint moment causes a time-dependent shift or redistribution of the internal force distribution in a span. If
the closure of the central joints is made at the reference
time t=0 day, then the final moments Mt will converge
with the elastic moment of the total structure (TS in Figs.
24). However, the example structure maintains the
statically determinate structure which does not cause
internal moment redistribution until t=100 days, so that
only the creep deformation after t=100 days, which is a
relatively small quantity of time, affects the time-dependent redistribution of the internal moment. Therefore, the
moment distribution at time t represents a difference
from that of the total structure. On particular, as shown
in Figs. 24, the difference is relatively large at the
internal spans. This means that the moment redistribution caused in proportion to the elastic moment difference between the statically determinate state and the
five-span continuous structure will be concentrated at the
internal spans. Figure 5, which represents the creep
moment distribution of the FCM 1 bridge, shows that
the creep moments at the center span are about 3.5 times
larger for the negative moment and about 7.0 times
larger for the positive moment than those of the end
spans.
Figure 6 shows the final moment distribution of the
example structure constructed by FCM 1, FCM 2, and
FCM 3 at t=100 years. As this figure shows, the difference in construction steps does not have a great influence
on the final moment distributions, but there is remarkable difference in the final moments between the initially
completed continuous bridge (TS in Figs. 24 and 6)
and the balanced cantilever bridges. Balanced cantilever
bridges represent relatively smaller values for the positive moments and larger values for the negative moments

Fig. 5.

Fig. 6.

than those of a five-span continuous structure (see Figs.

24 and 6). This difference is induced from no contribution of the creep deformation of concrete up to t=100
days at which the structural system is changed to the
statically indeterminate state. From the results obtained
for the time-dependent behavior of balanced cantilever
bridges, it can be concluded that the prediction of more
exact positive and negative design moments requires the
use of sophisticated time-dependent analysis programs
[8,9,11,14], which can consider the moment variation
according to the construction sequence. To be familiar
with those programs in practice, however, is time-consuming and involves many restrictions caused by complexity and difficulty in use because the adopted algorithms, theoretical backgrounds and the styles of input
files are different from each other. Accordingly, the
introduction of a simple but effective relation, which can
estimate design moments on the basis of elastic analysis
results without any time-dependent analysis, is in great
demand in the preliminary design stage of balanced cantilever bridges.

643

by the linear combination of the factored dead and live

the construction method because of the creep deformation of concrete, determination of the dead load
moment through time-dependent analysis considering
the construction sequence must be accomplished to
obtain an exact design moment.
On the other hand, post-tensioning tendons (cantilever
tendons) may be installed to connect each segment during construction, and the prestressing forces introduced
will also be redistributed from the cantilevered structural
system to the completed structural system due to concrete creep and the relaxation of tendons. However,
unlike the dead load from the self-weight of a structure
and the continuity tendons installed after completion of
construction, the cantilever tendons have a minor effect
on the internal moment redistribution, which is directly
related to the construction sequence . Thus the influence by cantilever tendons has been excluded in this
paper while determining the dead load moment considering the construction sequence.
The time-dependent behavior of a balanced cantilever
bridge can be described using a double cantilever with
an open joint at the point B, as in Fig. 7. When the
uniformly distributed load of q is applied on the structure, the elastic deflection of d=ql4/8EI and the rotation
angle of a=ql3/6EI occur at the ends of the cantilevers
(see Fig. 7b), where l and EI refer to the length of the
cantilever and the bending stiffness, respectively. If the

3. Determination of design moments

3.1. Calculation of creep moment
Unlike temporary loads such as live loads, impact
dead load and prestressing force are strongly related to
the long-term behavior of a concrete structure, so that
these are classified by the load which governs the timedependent behavior of a structure. Of these loads, the
dead load includes the self-weight continuously acting
on a structure during construction. Thus the moment and
deflection variations arising from changes in the structural system are heavily influenced by the dead load. The
design moments of a structure can finally be calculated

Fig. 7. Deformation of cantilevers before and after closure: (a) configuration of cantilever; (b) elastic deformations in a cantilever; (c)
restraint moment Mt after closure.

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joint remains open, then the deflection at time t will

increase to d(1+ft) and the rotation angle to a(1+ft),
where ft is the creep factor at time t. However, if the
joint at the point B is closed after application of the load,
an increase in the rotation angle aft is restrained, and
this restraint will develop the moment Mt, as shown in
Fig. 7c. The moment Mt, if acting in the cantilever,
causes the elastic rotation at the point B, defined as
b=Mtl/EI, and also accompanies the creep deformation.
Since the creep factor increases by dft during a time
interval dt, the variations in the angles of rotation will
be adft and db (the elastic deformation) +bdft (the
creep deformation) for a and b, respectively.
From these relations and the fact that there is no net
increase in discontinuity after the joint is closed, the
compatibility condition for the angular deformation
(adft=db+bdft) can be constructed. The integration of
this relation with respect to ft gives the restraint moment
Mt :
Mtql2

(1eft)
6

qL2

(1eft)
24

(1)

where ft means the creep factor at time t, and L=2l.

From Eq. (1), it can be found that for a large value
of ft, the restraint moment converges to Mt=qL2/24,
which is the same moment that would have been
obtained if the joint at the point B had been closed before
the load q was applied. This illustrates the fact that
moment redistribution due to concrete creep following a
change in the structural system tends to approach the
moment distribution that relates to the structural system
obtained after the change.
Referring to Fig. 8, which shows the moment distribution over time, the following general relationship may
be stated :
McrMIIIMI(MIIMI)(1eft)

same loads applied on the changed structural system, and

MIII=the restraint moment Mt.
The derivation of Eq. (2) is possible under the basic
assumption that the creep deformation of concrete starts
from the reference time, t=0 day. If it is assumed that
the joint is closed after a certain time, t=C days, while
maintaining the same assumptions adopted in the derivation of Eq. (2), then the structure can be analyzed by
means of the rate-of-creep method (RCM) , and the
creep moments obtained in Fig. 8 can be represented by
the following expression :
Mcr(MIIMI)(1e(ftfC))

Namely, in balanced cantilever bridges, the restraint

moment grows continuously from the time at which the
structural system is changed (t=C days), and its magnitude is proportional to (1e(ftfC)) [10,15,16].
Generally, construction of a multispan continuous
bridge starts at one end and proceeds continuously to the
other end. Therefore, change in the structural system is
repeated whenever each cantilever part is tied by
concreting a key segment at the midspan. Moreover, the
influence by the newly connected span will be delivered
into the previously connected spans so that there are
some limitations in direct applications of Eq. (3) to calculate the restraint moment at each span because of the
many different connecting times of t=C days. To solve
this problem and for a sufficiently exact calculation of
the final time-dependent moments, Trost and Wolff 
proposed a relation on the basis of the combination of
elastic moments (SMS,i; equivalent to MI in Eq. (3))
occurred at each construction step (see Fig. 9), and the
moment obtained by assuming that the entire structure

(2)

where Mcr=the creep moment resulting from change of

structural system, MI=the moment due to loads before a
change of structural system, MII=the moment due to the

Fig. 8.

Moment distribution over time.

(3)

Fig. 9.

Combination of MS,i.

is constructed at the same point in time (ME; equivalent

to MII in Eq. (3)):

MT

MS,i(ME

MS,i)

ft
1+rft

(4)

where ft and r represent the creep factor and corresponding relaxation factor, respectively.
This relation has been broadly used in practice
because of its simplicity. In particular, the exactness and
efficiency of this relation can be expected in a bridge
constructed by the incremental launching method (ILM)
or the movable scaffolding system (MSS), that is, in a
span-by-span constructed bridge. However, there are still
limitations in direct applications of Eq. (4) to balanced
cantilever bridges because this equation excludes the
proportional ratio, (1e(ftfC)) in Eq. (3), which represents the characteristic of the balanced cantilever
method.
The difference in the internal moments (MEMS,i in
Eq. (4) which is equivalent to MIIMI in Eq. (3)) is not
recovered immediately after connection of all the spans
but gradually over time, and the internal restraint
moments occurring at time t also decrease with time
because of relaxation accompanied by creep deformation. From this fact, it may be inferred that Eq. (4)
considers the variation of the internal restraint moments
on the basis of a relaxation phenomenon. When a constant stress s0 is applied at time t0, this stress will be
decreased to s(t) at time t (see Fig. 10). Considering the
stress variation with the effective modulus method
(EMM), the strain e(t) corresponding to the stress s(t)
can be expressed by e(t)=s0/E0(1+ft). Moreover, the
stress ratio, which denotes the relaxation ratio, becomes
R(t,t0)=s(t)/s0=1/(1+ft), and the stress variation
s(t)=ft/(1+ft)s0. That is, the stress variation is proportional to ft/(1+ft). If the age-adjusted effective modulus method (AEMM) is based on calculation to allow
the influence of aging due to change of stress, the stress
variation can be expressed by s(t)=cft/(1+cft)s0,
where c is the aging coefficient .

Fig. 10.

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3.2. A proposed relation

With the background for the time-dependent behavior
of a cantilever beam effectively describing the internal
moment variation in balanced cantilever bridges, and by
maintaining the basic form of Eq. (4) suggested by Trost
and Wolff , considering the construction sequence
while calculating the internal moments at an arbitrary
time t, the following relation is introduced:
MT

MS,i(ME

MS,i)(1e(ftfc))f(ft)

(5)

where f(ft)=cft/(1+cft). c is the concrete aging coefficient which accounts for the effect of aging on the ultimate value of creep for stress increments or decrements
occurring gradually after application of the original load.
It was found that in previous studies [11,12,14] an average value of c=0.82 can be used for most practical problems where the creep coefficient lies between 1.5 and
3.0. An approximate value of c=0.82 is adopted in this
paper. In addition, if the creep factor ft is calculated on
the basis of the ACI model , f(ft)=cft/(1+cft) has
the values of 0.62, 0.64, and 0.65 at 1 year, 10 years,
and 100 years, respectively.
Comparing this equation (Eq. (5)) with Eq. (4), the
following differences can be found: (1) to simulate the
cantilevered construction, a term, (1e(ftfC)) describing the creep behavior of a cantilevered beam is added
in Eq. (5) (see Eq. (3)); and (2) the term ft(1+rft) in
Eq. (4) is replaced by f(ft)=cft/(1+cft) in Eq. (5) on the
basis of the relaxation phenomenon.
To verify the effectiveness of the introduced relation,
the internal moment variations in FCM 1, FCM 2, and
FCM 3 bridges (see Fig. 1), which were obtained
through rigorous time-dependent analyses, are compared
with those by the introduced relation. The effect of creep
in the rigorous numerical model was studied in accordance with the first-order algorithm based on the expansion of a degenerate kernel of compliance function
[8,11,12]. Figures 1113, representing the results
obtained at t=1 year, t=10 years, and t=100 years after
completion of construction, show that the relation of Eq.
(4) proposed by Trost and Wolff gives slightly conservative positive moments even though they are still acceptable in the preliminary design stage. On the other hand,
the introduced relation of Eq. (5) effectively simulates
the internal moment variation over time regardless of the
construction sequence and gives slightly larger positive
moments than those obtained by the rigorous analysis
along the spans. Hence the use of Eq. (5) in determining
the positive design moments will lead to more reasonable designs of balanced cantilever bridges. In addition,
the underestimation of the negative moments, which represents the equivalent magnitudes with overestimation of
the positive moments, will be induced. The negative
design moments, however, must be determined on the

646

H.-G. Kwak, J.-K. Son / Engineering Structures 24 (2002) 639648

Fig. 11. Moment variations of FCM 1 bridge after; (a) 1 year; (b)
10 years; (c) 100 years.

Fig. 12. Moment variations of FCM 2 bridge after: (a) 1 year; (b)
10 years; (c) 100 years.

4. Application to segmental bridges

basis of the cantilevered state because it has the
maximum value in all the construction steps, as noted
in Fig. 2. This means that the negative design moment
has a constant value of M=1160 t m in this example
structure and is calculated directly from the elastic
moment of a cantilevered beam.

A time-dependent analysis of balanced cantilever

bridges was conducted by assuming that the cantilevers
are constructed simultaneously while maintaining a constant time interval (see Fig. 1). The cantilevers in real
bridges are usually constructed by sequential connection
of segments 3 to 6 m long. These segments may be cast

647

properties used are the same as those used previously.

The results obtained at t=100 years in FCM 1, FCM 2,
and FCM 3 bridges (see Fig. 1) are given in Fig. 15.
Comparing the obtained results in Fig. 15 and in Figs.
1113, the positive moments in the segmental bridge
show slightly larger values than those obtained when the
entire length of the cantilever is cast at the same time.
This difference in the numerical results seems to arise
not from the difference in the construction method of
the cantilever part but from the difference in time when
the structural system is changed. From the results
obtained, it can be inferred that the most influential factors on the internal moment variation in balanced cantilever bridges are the magnitude of the ultimate creep factor and the time when the structural system is changed
to a statically indeterminate state. This is because the
time-dependent deformations of concrete become very
important as a result of early loading to the young concrete. Moreover, it can be concluded that the introduced
relation of Eq. (5) can be used effectively even in segmental bridges, and by using this relation, the design
moment required to determine the concrete dimensions
in the preliminary design stage can easily be calculated
without any rigorous time-dependent analysis.

5. Conclusions
Fig. 13. Moment variations of FCM 3 bridge after: (a) 1 year; (b)
10 years; (c) 100 years.

in place or transported to the specific piers after precasting in a nearby construction yard. Accordingly, a
segmental concrete bridge has been taken as an example
structure to review the applicability and effectiveness of
the introduced relation of Eq. (5). The example structure
is shown in Fig. 14, and each segment with a length of
2.7 m is assumed to be cast-in-place with a time interval
of 8 days. All the sectional dimensions and material

A simple, but effective, relation which can simulate

the internal moment variation due to the creep deformation of concrete and the changes in the structural system during construction is proposed, and a new guideline
to determine the design moments is introduced in this
paper. The positive design moment for a dead load can
be determined by the introduced relation, while the negative design moment for a dead load must be calculated
directly from the elastic moment of a cantilevered beam
in balanced cantilever bridges.
Moreover, since the internal moments by other loads,
except the dead load, are not affected by the construction

648

results represent slightly conservative values . In

addition, if a rigorous time-dependent analysis is conducted with the initial section determined on the basis
of the initial design moments obtained by using Eq. (5),
then a more effective design of balanced cantilever
bridges can be expected.
Acknowledgements
The research presented in this paper was sponsored
partly by the Samsung Engineering and Construction.
Their support is greatly appreciated.
References

Fig. 15. Moment distribution in segmental bridges at t=100 years:

(a) FCM 1; (b) FCM 2; (c) FCM 3.

sequence, the calculation of the final factored design

moment can be followed by the linear combination of
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may affect the internal moment redistribution during
construction, need to be considered in calculating the
internal moments and the corresponding normal stresses
at an arbitrary section, it may be achieved on the basis of
the final continuous structure even though the calculated

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