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NCHRP Report 527: Integral Steel Box-Beam Pier Caps

Crack pattern in column  after seismic loading

Crack pattern in column model after several cycles of simulated seismic loading


Principal investigator:

Co-principal investigators:

Project status


Start date: 07/22/99
End date: 03/30/03


Report: NCHRP Report 527: Integral Steel Box-Beam Pier Caps (1.4M pdf) November 2004


Sponsor(s): Modjeski and Masters, Inc.

About the research

Abstract: The superstructure and the substructure of conventional bridges are usually designed as separate systems. The bridge girders are typically supported on bearings that support the vertical reaction of the girder on the piers and allow the girders to rotate relative to the piers. Integral connections between the substructure and superstructure provide some degree of continuity between the girders and the piers and are attractive alternatives when clearance and elevation at grade separations are significant design constraints. Integral connections are also used to enhance seismic performance of bridge structures.

The objective of this research is to develop recommended details, design methodologies, and specifications for integral connections of steel superstructures to concrete substructures. Project tasks include (1) conducting an extensive literature review and survey of current practice (2) evaluating old and new concepts and recommend those for further development (3) testing two 1/3 scale integral connection concepts and evaluate performance under simulated service loading (at service load levels) and seismic loading (reversed cyclic loading at increasing ductility levels) (4) finalizing integral connection concepts based on test results (5) developing recommended methodologies, specifications, commentary, and design examples.