Research on Capitol Hill

Presenter and Co-Presenter(s)

Weston Bellon, Utah State UniversityFollow

Expected Graduation Year



College of Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Marc Maguire


Self-Propelled Modular Transport (SPMT) vehicles were introduced to the bridge industry in 2008. They are used to transport super-heavy bridge decks from the prefabrication site to the construction site. SPMTs provide a wide range of functions including the ability to pivot 360 degrees, lift, carry and set large loads at walking speed. The use of SPMTs reduces traffic disruption and improves worker safety.

Because of the heavy loads inherent in a bridge movement project, the dynamic effects on the bridge and false work must be taken into account. Up to this point, no conclusive research has been performed to standardize the design of a bridge deck and false work in order to compensate for the dynamic loads experienced during the transportation and installation processes. This project seeks to determine the “worst case” situation, and to represent the dynamic effects by equations in order to standardize the project design process.

Experiments were conducted by testing SPMT machines under different loads and dynamic situations. Accelerometers were installed on the SPMT’s in order to quantify the dynamic forces on the bridge deck and false work. “Up-Down”, “Start and Stop”, “Rotation”, “Turn”, and “Long Run” scenarios were tested in order to discover the “worst case” scenario. Based on the results of these experiments, equations were developed to predict the dynamic forces experienced throughout the transportation and installation process. These equations, developed for the “worst case” scenario, will standardize the process of SPMT bridge construction and improve the safety and efficiency of future projects.

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