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Bridge Problems for the

Structural Engineering (SE) Exam:


Lateral Loads

David Connor, SE, PE


Website: www.davidconnorse.com
Email: davidconnorse@gmail.com

Reference Bridge Code AASHTO LRFD 7th Edition, 2014

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BRIDGE PROBLEMS FOR THE STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING (SE) EXAM: LATERAL LOADS
Current Printing of this edition: 1st
th
Reference Bridge Code: AASHTO LRFD 7 Edition, 2014
Copyright 2016 by David Connor, SE, PE
All rights reserved.
No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author. Contact the
author via e-mail at davidconnorse@gmail.com for inquiries.
This publication shall be used for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional and sound engineering
judgment. The author does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information published herein and shall not be
responsible for any errors, omissions, or damages arising out of use of the information in this publication. It is understood that
the author is not rendering professional engineering services via this publication.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the National Council of Examiners for
Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) were not involved in producing this publication. Any mention of these, or similar
organizations, within this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the publication, nor the information published
herein.
Any similarity between the problems appearing in this publication and problems published by others or that appear on the
NCEES Structural Engineering (SE) Exam is purely coincidental. The subject matter of the problems was chosen based on what
the author believed what may appear on future SE Exams only.
Printed by CreateSpace, An Amazon.com Company
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ISBN: 1535055464

Table of Contents
Subject Matter of Each Problem.
About the Author.

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Acknowledgements.
Preface.

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i-6

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Tips and Recommendations.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i-8-i-15

Summary of AASHTO Changes.


Nomenclature.
Notes.

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i-16-i-28

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i-29-i-32

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Bridge Problems for the Structural Engineering (SE) Exam: Lateral Loads
40 Problems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Answer Sheet.

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Problems #1 through #40.

1
2

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Bridge Problems for the Structural Engineering (SE) Exam: Lateral Loads
Solutions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Answer Key.

i-33-i-34

- 42

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Problems #1 through #40 Solutions.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45-84

i-3

Subject Matter of Each Problem


Problem #1 Superstructure Wind Loads in Transverse Direction
Problem #2 Superstructure Wind Loads in Longitudinal Direction
Problem #3 Superstructure Wind Loads on Flat Surface
Problem #4 Simultaneous Substructure Wind and Stream Loads
Problem #5 Usual Girder and Slab Bridge Wind Loads
Problem #6 Wind Loads on Vehicles
Problem #7 Superstructure Wind Loads Skewed Pier
Problem #8 Substructure Wind Loads Skewed Pier
Problem #9 Pier Analysis Subject to Wind Loads
Problem #10 Aeroelastic Instability
Problem #11 Lateral Stream Pressure
Problem #12 Soil Bearing Pressures Due to Lateral Loads
Problem #13 Seismic Site Specific Hazard Analysis
Problem #14 Seismic Response Spectrum
Problem #15 Determination of Elastic Seismic Response Coefficient
Problem #16 Pier Seismic Design Moments
Problem #17 Pier Foundation Seismic Design Moments
Problem #18 Pier Foundation Seismic Design Moments
Problem #19 Longitudinal and Lateral Seismic Design Moments
Problem #20 Pier Seismic Shear Force
Problem #21 Hold-Down Device Uplift
Problem #22 Seismic Analysis Methods for Bridges
Problem #23 Single-Mode Spectral Method of Seismic Analysis
Problem #24 Uniform Load Elastic Method of Seismic Analysis
Problem #25 Minimum Support Width
Problem #26 P Compliance
Problem #27 Concrete Column to Footing Connections Seismic Provisions
Problem #28 Concrete Column Longitudinal Reinforcement Development Seismic Provisions
Problem #29 Concrete Column Shear Reinforcement Seismic Provisions
Problem #30 Wall-Type Pier Reinforcement Seismic Provisions
Problem #31 Steel Cross-Frame Diaphragm Capacity
Problem #32 Deck Flexibility vs. Rigidity
Problem #33 Deck Seismic Shear Force
Problem #34 Site Liquefaction Characteristics
Problem #35 MSE Wall Grid Reinforcement Seismic Capacity
Problem #36 Proper Use of Mononobe-Okabe Method
Problem #37 Conventional Retaining Wall Seismic Forces
Problem #38 MSE Wall Seismic Inertial Forces
Problem #39 Elastomeric Bearing Pad Lateral Shear
Problem #40 Sound Barrier Wind Loads

i-4

Tips and Recommendations

After you have gathered together all of the codes, tab them. Solving problems quickly
is paramount to passing the SE Exam and the use of tabs will help you to quickly find the
code information you need. This process will also help you get familiar with the layout of
the codes and you may even find information in the codes that is useful in your day-today work experience. Again, dont underestimate the time it will take to perform this
task. It took me the better part of 2 weeks to tab my codes. Be selective with your
tabbing. If you overtab, you could have the reverse effect of making it more difficult to
find information quickly. Also, leave a gap without tabs in the middle of the page edges
to make flipping through the pages easier and so that your thumb does not get caught
on the tabbed pages. See the photo below.

This photo shows overtabbing at


the front of the book and correct
tabbing with a gap between the tabs
at the back of the book.

This may sound like common sense and trivial, but the best way to study is to work out
problems step-by-step, by hand. Obviously, this is how you will need to solve the
problems on the exam as well. The reason I mention this is because, many if not all,
structural engineers today depend on the use of spreadsheets and structural
engineering software to perform the sometimes repetitive structural engineering and
analysis tasks. Solving problems by hand will help you to identify the best ways to solve
a problem, where in the code to find the information, and where you may get tripped
up.

i-9

Summary of AASHTO Changes


Section 4.6.2.2.2 - Distribution Factor Method for Moment and Shear
4.6.2.2.2a Interior Beams with Wood Decks The lane fraction terminology has been replaced
with live load distribution factor, g.
4.6.2.2.2b Interior Beams with Concrete Decks The lane fraction terminology has been
replaced with live load distribution factor, g. In Table 4.6.2.2.2b-1 the applicable cross-sections
for Concrete Beams used in Multibeam Decks definitions have been slightly modified.
4.6.2.2.2c Interior Beams with Corrrugated Steel Decks - The lane fraction terminology has
been replaced with live load distribution factor, g.
4.6.2.2.2d Exterior Beams - The lane fraction terminology has been replaced with live load
distribution factor, g. Definitions and application of ginterior and the distance de has been refined.
In Table 4.6.2.2.2d-1 the applicable cross-sections for Concrete Beams used in Multibeam Decks
definitions have been slightly modified.
4.6.2.2.2e Skewed Bridges - In Table 4.6.2.2.2e-1 the applicable cross-sections for Concrete
Deck on Concrete Spread Beams, Cast-in-Place Multicell Box Concrete Box Beams and Double TSections used in Multibeam Decks has been changed. Double T-Sections used in Multibeam
Decks are no longer specified. The applicable cross sections have been changed.
Section 4.6.2.2.3 - Distribution Factor Method for Shear
4.6.2.2.3a Interior Beams - The lane fraction terminology has been replaced with live load
distribution factor, g. In Table 4.6.2.2.3a-1 the applicable cross-sections for Concrete Beams
used in Multibeam Decks definitions have been slightly modified.
4.6.2.2.3b Exterior Beams - The lane fraction terminology has been replaced with live load
distribution factor, g. In Table 4.6.2.2.3b-1 the applicable cross-sections for Concrete Beams
used in Multibeam Decks definitions have been slightly modified.
4.6.2.2.3c Skewed Bridges Additional verbiage has been added regarding when to apply the
skewed correction factors for shear load distribution for exterior beams at the obtuse corner of
the span.
4.6.2.2.5 Special Loads with Other Traffic - This is listed as an Article with revisions per
AASHTO however, there appears to be no differences between the printing of AASHTO 6th
edition that I have and the 7th edition.
4.6.2.7 Lateral Wind Load Distribution in Multibeam Bridges The Article has been renamed
to Lateral Wind Load Distribution in Girder System Bridges.

i-19

BRIDGE PROBLEMS FOR THE STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING (SE) EXAM: LATERAL LOADS
Problem #1
LATERAL PROBLEMS

Refer to the bridge elevation, design data, and assumptions below:

Design Data and Assumptions:

The pier and abutments are not skewed


The truss profile has the same projection in windward and leeward wind directions
For wind pressure calculations the height of structure may be taken at mid-height of the
element
Wind velocity at 30 ft. above low ground, V30 = 120 mph
Base wind velocity VB = 100 mph
Upstream Surface Conditions are classified Open Country
Skew Angle of Wind = 0O to 60O

The maximum total design wind pressure (PD) that should be applied to the truss members for
design of the pier, in the bridge transverse direction, is most nearly:
(A)
(B)
(C)
(D)

.075 ksf
.086 ksf
.129 ksf
.141 ksf

BRIDGE PROBLEMS FOR THE STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING (SE) EXAM: LATERAL LOADS
Problem #30:
Refer to the illustration of the wall-type bridge pier, design data, and assumptions below:

Design Data and Assumptions:


Seismic Zone 3
Design shear VuLAT = 2300 kips for Extreme Event I loading and has been reduced by the
appropriate response modification factor.
The wall boundary elements are adequate to resist all moments.
Concrete properties:
fc = 3.5 ksi, Normal Weight
Steel reinforcement properties:
fy = 60 ksi
Pier shear design properties:
b = 24
d = 356
The most economical wall reinforcement for the wall-type bridge pier that meets AASHTO
provisions, per layer of reinforcement, is:
(A)
(B)
(C)
(D)

#5 @ 10 vertical, #5 @ 10 horizontal
#5 @ 10 vertical, #6 @ 12 horizontal
#6 @ 12 vertical, #6 @ 12 horizontal
#7 @ 12 vertical, #7 @ 12 horizontal

32

BRIDGE PROBLEMS FOR THE STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING (SE) EXAM: LATERAL LOADS
Problem #2 Correct Answer (B)
This problem tests on determining the wind loads to be applied on a bridge truss superstructure in the
bridges longitudinal direction. Typically the governing longitudinal wind pressure occurs at the largest
skew angle of wind.
Pertinent Sections and Tables
Section 3.8.1 Horizontal Wind Pressure
Section 3.8.1.2 Wind Pressures on Structures: WS
Table 3.8.1.1-1 Values of Vo and Zo for Various Upstream
Surface Conditions
Table 3.8.1.2.2-1 Base Wind Pressures, PB, for Various
Angles of Attack and VB = 100 mph

TIP: Base wind pressures applied to a


bridge superstructure in the bridge
longitudinal direction should be
determined from Table 3.8.1.2.2-1 only.
Table 3.8.1.2.1-1 does not show values
longitudinal wind loads at various skew
angles of wind.

Solution
Step 1 Determine VDZ (Note: This step is the same as Problem #1):
VDZ is determined by AASHTO Eq. 3.8.1.1-1:
!
= 2.5
ln
!
From the problem statement the following values are determined:
Vo = 8.20 (Table 3.8.1.1-1 Open Country upstream surface condition)
V30 = 120 mph
VB = 100 mph
Z = 47.5 feet (from illustration)
Z0 = 0.23 feet (Table 3.8.1.1-1 Open Country upstream surface condition)
VDZ = 2.5*(8.2)*(120/100)*ln(47.5/0.23) = 131 mph
Step 2 Determine design pressure PD:
PD is determined by AASHTO Eq. 3.8.1.2.1-1
" =" #

'
10000
For wind pressures in the longitudinal direction of the bridge, the maximum wind pressure occurs at the
o
skew angle of wind = 60 . Using AASHTO Table 3.8.1.2.2-1 for Superstructure Trusses, Columns and Arches
o
the base pressure PB at the skew angle of wind = 60 is 0.050 ksf.
2

Thus PD = 0.050*(131 /10000) = -

Answer: 0.086 ksf

Incorrect Answers
(A) 0.050 ksf This answer would be determined if the base velocity = 100 mph was used. This value
could also be found in Table 3.8.1.2.2-1
(B) 0.086 ksf This is the correct answer.
(C) 0.094 ksf This answer would be determined if the elevation at the top of truss Z = 60 ft were used,
instead of the mid-height of the truss as shown in the problem statement.
(D) 0.129 ksf This answer would be determined if the maximum lateral/transverse direction loads were
used instead of longitudinal.

46

BRIDGE PROBLEMS FOR THE STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING (SE) EXAM: LATERAL LOADS
Problem #31 Correct Answer (C)

Pertinent Sections and Tables


Section 6.8.2 Tensile Resistance
Section 6.8.2.2 Reduction Factor, U
Table 6.8.2.2-1 Shear Lag Factors for
Connections to Tension Members
Section 6.5.5 Extreme Event Limit State
Resistance Factors

TIP: For cross-frame diaphragms constructed out of


steel members, the tensile capacity of the angles
typically will govern the design. Unless special
conditions exist, it is assumed the tension side angles
will develop the lateral shear prior to compression
buckling of the compression side angles.

Solution
Step 1 Determine the tensile capacity of the cross-frame angles:
As discussed in the Tip above, the cross-frame diaphragm capacity will be governed by the tensile capacity
of the cross-frame angles. Additionally, the problem statement states that the end connection welds do
not govern. Therefore the tensile capacity of the cross-frame angles may be determined per AASHTO
Section 6.8.2 and Eqs. 6.8.2.1-1 and 6.8.2.1-2. Additionally, per Section 6.5.5 = 1.0 for Extreme Event
Limit State steel design except at bolts as specified.
2

Pr = yPny = yFyAg = (1.0)*(36 ksi)*(1.44 in ) = 51.8 kips


Pr = uPnu = uFuAnRpU where
2

An = 1.44 in (no holes), Rp = 1.0 (no holes), U = 1 -

= 1 (1/3) = 0.67

U is determined per Table 6.8.2.2-1 Case 2. Case 8 in Table 6.8.2.2-1 does not apply because welds are
used, not bolts.
2

Pr = uPnu = uFuAnRpU = (1.0)*(58 ksi)*(1.44 in )*(1.0)*(0.67) = 56.0 kips


Eq. 6.8.2.1-1 governs and Pr = 51.8 kips
Step 2 Determine the cross-frame diaphragm capacity:
Referring to the problem illustration, the tension component in the direction of the force Vcross is:
Lanlge = 4$ + 8$ = 9 ft.
Therefore cross-frame capacity per girder bay = (8/9)*(51.8 kips) = 46.0 kips
And the total cross-frame capacity is (4 girder bays)*(46.0 kips) = Answer: 184 kips
Incorrect Answers
(A) 159 kips This answer would be determined if the resistance factors () per Section 6.5.4.2 were
used instead of = 1.0 for Extreme Event I Limit State.
(B) 175 kips This answer would be determined if the resistance factors () per Section 6.5.4.2 were
used instead of = 1.0 and U = .80 per Case 8 in Table 6.8.2.2-1.
(C) 184 kips - This is the correct answer.
(D) 200 kips This answer would be determined if the value for Pr for tensile rupture was used = 56
kips.

75

LATERAL SOLUTIONS

This problem tests on determining the capacity of an end abutment cross-frame diaphragm consisting of
steel angle X-bracing. The tensile capacity of the angles is determined in order to ultimately arrive at the
overall capacity of the diaphragm.