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Othman, N.S.U

Researcher, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor D.E


Bridges in Malaysia are usually design under static loading. Some major cities in Malaysia had
experienced earthquake excitation or ground motion upon devastating Tsunami and Earthquake event
held in Acheh back in 2004. Performing simple harmonic motion analysis for the single degree of
freedom (SDOF) bridge structure under free vibration without damping using STAAD Pro was a new
adaptive study. The model of the bridge had been modified in specifications (from existing bridge in
Jeli, Kelantan) suitably for dynamic analysis assignment. Commenced with the validation of the static
loading for the modified prototype bridge pier structure using mathematical calculation, the
comparison shown between analytical and theoretical was almost 0%. Thus in dynamic analysis, two
parameters were verified and validated using theories and calculation, which are maximum lateral
displacement and Rayleigh frequency under 6 various percentage of drift. Numerical results indicate
excellent accuracy when the percentage difference between analytical and numerical for maximum
lateral displacement and Rayleigh frequency was only 4.705% and 2.18%, respectively. It designates
a good accuracy and acceptable to be used and compared in laboratory experiment of the same
specimen for continuity of the study. Both static and dynamic analysis were successfully verified and
validated. In supplementary, the free vibration without damping system analysis produces more
information and relevant datas that merely could be used in researching the performance of the
bridge structure under dynamic responses.

Keywords: multi-column pier bridge, unskewed bridge, STAAD Pro dynamic analysis, bridge
analysis, concrete bridge, dynamic loading, time history analysis, simple harmonic motion, free
vibration without damp.


The huge earthquake excitation from neighboring, such as Banda Acheh, Sumatera could feel in
Malaysia due to long distant earthquakes can cause damage to buildings and bridges. Second Penang
Bridge which connecting Batu Kawan in mainland and Batu Maung in the Island with span about
24km across the sea is the longest seismic design bridge in the world (Time, 2012). Most of the mega
project of bridges in Malaysia has induced the seismic loading into their design calculation, but what
about the bridge that was constructed earlier in accordance to British Standard (BS8110). Modeling of
the prototype building is the best approach to be conducted using the existing bridge or even to every
new design of bridges in a future. The main focus of this study is to look into the bridge bents and
allowable displacements. How it moves and displaced during earthquake event should be investigated.
The ability of design and use structural software to model the sub-assemblage of bridge pier under
earthquake loading is important examine the seismic performance. Though seismic analyses can be
done using modeling method for bridges are not much compared to buildings, the end results obtained
showed that bridges behave in an interesting way that illustrates the mode of shape and damages of
the bridge undergone some deformation.

This study is taking a wise step in conducting modeling analysis using STAAD.Pro to a modified
prototype of multi-column pier of unskewed bridge under static and dynamic load. The modification
was made to the length, width, type of beam and number of columns at pier from the original bridge.
An analysis of undamped free-vibration was applied to the model as the model was constructed and
defined as single degree of freedom (SDOF). The intended objective needed to be achieved are (i) to
model the modified bridge pier using STAAD Pro, (ii) to perform static and dynamic analysis using
STAAD Pro and (iii) to validate each analysis between mathematical modeling and numerical
calculation. The dimension of the modified prototype of bridge pier in cross sectional view is as
shown in Figure 1.1 and the model properties are as shown in Table 1.1. It is to deliver a
performance result of the pier, such as the lateral displacements of the bridge deck. The validation
value of static and dynamic (seismic analysis) between analytical modeling and theoretically were
obtained and discussed.

Figure 1.1: Cross sectional view of the bridge model

Table 1.1: Modified bridge prototype material properties

Unit Weight
Length (mm)
Cross Section
Area (m
Premix 60 - - 23.5
In-situ Slab 160 - - 25
I18 Precast
- 18800 0.598475 25
Parapet - 18800 0.185 25
1600 9500 2.4 25
Diaphragm 300 - 1.237 25
1000 5750 0.785 25
2.0 Previous Researchers Work

THA has been used widely to study the performance and the behavior of a structure under earthquake
loading. In this study, the Time History Analysis was done by defining the acceleration with time
function. 6 pre-determined bridge drift were calculated in order to obtain the amplitude, (A) of the
function. Different software might have different interface in data input, moreover the concept remain
similar. In most of the THA done to structures, especially bridges, SAP2000 frequently used software,
instead of STAAD.Pro. In this study, was used in conducting Free Vibration of
undamped structure for multi-column pier of unskewed bridge. Though, previous researchers had
done several works on bridge analysis under dynamic loading with various types of software and
approach and also the purposes.

2.1 Dynamic Analysis on Skew Bridge

The direction of the bridge with the underneath traffic flow or river flow or even railway path is
divided into two, whether it is skew (not perpendicular to the underneath flow) or unskewed
(perpendicular or parallel to the underneath direction. Several studies had been performed for skew
bridge under dynamic impact or loads. The bridge over the Yarriambiack Creek at Warracknabeal
Victoria in Australia was tested under dynamic loading both in computer modeling and
experimentally with 30 of skew angle (Haritos, 1995). The shaker (the actuator) for creating dynamic
motion was positioned at two salient points on the bridge model (point A and point B) as shown in
Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1: The plan view of Yarriambiack Creek Bridge test span depicting accelerometer grid
(Haritos, 1995).

The model is tested using sweptSine Wave (SSW) displacement/forcing function with range of
frequency between 0.5 to 50Hz with maximum double amplitude of 80kN excitation. The comparison
between experiementally and numerically were made for the natural frquencies of the model for both
position A and B. It was came out acceptable between numerical and experimental results as closed as
5% in the percentage difference. Hence, results from experiment depicted that the optimal model
fitting was done between the range of 10Hz to 30Hz as it was already classified as outside of the
range. Unlimited from numerical results shows that all 6 modes of the models natural frequencies can
be printed out.

It is rare to find a great condition of bridge construction in avoiding skew of the bridge. The skew
angle could leads to financial support to the whole bridge project. Most of the time, to get unskewed
bridge is almost possible. But, the skew angle can actually lessen down the moment of the bridge pier
and also the moments and displacement at the center span section (He, 2012). The multi-span box
girder bridge was analyzed under static loading with varies of skew angle being assigned to the bridge
model. The mode shapes for three type of bearing which are orthogonal double bearing (ODB),
skewed bearing (SB) and orthogonal single bearing (OSB) are shown in Figure 2.2. it shows that
different skews and support conditins gives minimal effect on the first mode shape of the model
bridge. Increasing skew apparently increasing the first modal frequency. Increasing skew was
observed to increase the modal frequencies but no obvious trend for higher modes. It is appears that
with increasing of skew angle it increases the apparent stiffness relative to mass.

Figure 2.2: Calculated mode shapes comparison of orthogonal double bearing (ODB), skewed
bearing (SB) and orthogonal single bearing (OSB) (He, 2012).
2.2 Dynamic Analysis on shape of the bridge deck

The shape of the bridge deck reacts differently when assigned to dynamic loading. Three different
span of multi-span concrete bridge was tested using finite element method (FEM). The selected spans
were 16-32-16 (64m), 20-32-20 (72m) and 20-40-20 (80m) (Munirudrappa, 2004). The cross section
of the studied bridge were Tee section, I section and Box section with the option under skew angle of
0 and 30. In order to obtain the frequencies at different nodes positions, considered speed is in the
range of 30kmph, 45kmph, 60kmph, 90kmph to 120kmph. A Laplace transform solution was
performed for dynamic load factor (DLF). The observation is discussed and obviously, with the
increase of speed and span, the DLF also increase, while respond to the various section of the bridge,
they were no appreciable changes. The DLF values also has no significant effect with the skew angle
of the bridge (0 and 30, respectively). From the free vibration of the bridge in fundamental mode,
the largest dynamic load factor (DLF) occurred at center of the mid span as shown in Figure 2.3.

Figure 2.3: Free Vibration of the bridge in fundamental mode (Munirudrappa, 2004).

Another test was done using finite element method (FEM) in 2 and 3-dimensional of multi-span
segmental bridge, Sultan Azlan Shah Bridge in Perak (Azlan et al, 2008). SAP2000 was utilized in
modelling and analysing the seismic response to the bridge. Figure 2.4 and Figure 2.5 respectively
shows the two dimensional of the bridge simulation and the mode shape of the bridge in longitudinal
view. Figure 2.6 and Figure 2.7 respectively shows the three-dimensional of the bridge simulation
and the mode shape. Both two and three-dimensional simulation were analysed under Time History

Figure 2.4: 2D Computer simulation of the bridge (Azlan et al, 2008).

Figure 2.5: Mode shape 1 of the bridge (Azlan et al, 2008).

Figure 2.6: 3D Computer simulation of the bridge (Azlan et al, 2008).

Figure 2.7: Mode shape in 3D (Azlan et al, 2008).
According to the final comparison, the bridge deck and pier either in 2D or 3D, shows less than the
capacity under Time History Analysis. However, the pier of the bridge under 3D response spectrum
analyses showed that the value of maximum axial force and maximum bending moment was higher
than the capcity when it was subjected to Peak Surface Acceleration (PSA) of 0.161g. The bridge was
tested untill it cracks at 0.25g and collapse at 0.32g.

2.3 Free Vibration without damping

The earthquake excitation and bridge responses is subjected to earthquake ground motion in the form
of ground acceleration or Peak Ground Acceleration, (PGA), denoted as g(t) is best explained as
Single Degree of Freedom (SDOF) model of a bridge structure. Figure 2.8 shows part of the
longitudinal section of unskewed bridge. A simplified SDOF model of a single column bent bridge
under transverse earthquake ground acceleration input can provide similarity or approximation to the
true seismic response of the bridge prototype as long as the bridge is unskewed and having constant
span and equal heights of piers (Priestly,2009). Figure 2.9 shows the cross sectional of the bridge and
the hatching area show the simplified model that will be analyzed as single degree of freedom

Figure 2.8: Longitudinal section of unskewed bridge (Priestley, 1996)

Figure 2.9: Sub-assemblage of unskewed bridge is modeled as single degree of freedom (SDOF)
(Priestley, 1996)

The first mode of vibration characteristics can easily be found as shown in Figure 2.9, where the
lumped mass and the stiffness of the column can be selected based on the cross section. From
Newtons Second Law, the undamped-free vibration bridge model can be expressed as

0 ) ( ) ( ) ( = + + t ku t u c t u m Equation 2.1
0 ) ( ) ( = + t ku t u m Equation 2.2
m = Inertial Forces
cu = Damping forces
ku = Elastic forces
The displacement u (t) with time is assumed to follow a harmonic motion as shown in Figure 2.10,
giving the form

) sin( ) ( t A t u = = Equation 2.3
(a) Full scale of unskewed bridge (b) Single degree of freedom (SDOF)
As the derivation can be continued to determine the velocity, (t) with time and acceleration, (t),
) cos( ) ( t A t u = = = Equation 2.4
) sin( ) (
t A t u = = = Equation 2.5

And for SDOF (single-degree-of-freedom) of bridges consisting undamped natural angular frequency
(e), the cyclic natural frequency (f) and natural period of vibration (T) can best be defined as
, = f frequency Equation 2.6
t 2 1
, = =
T period Equation 2.7

Figure 2.10: Free vibration for undamped harmonic response of SDOF system.


3.1 Static modeling and analysis

In static modeling and analysis using STAAD Pro, the material properties of the modified prototype
bridge are as shown in Table 1.1. The concrete compressive strength is 40N/mm
and Youngs
Modulus of 35000 N/mm
. The dead loads for the analysis were from the selfweight of the beams,
diaphragms, parapets, premixes and concrete slab. The general dimension of the bridge model is 18m
(length) x9.5m (width) x6.5m (height to the center of the capping beam). In STAAD Pro, the
modified prototype bridge is modeled as skeletal statically determinate structure, comprises 3 member
elements and 4 nodes. Node 2 and 3 was assigned as a support and design loads were assigned along
the member element with appropriate distance (according to the I18 beam position on capping beam)
as shown in Figure 3.1. The analytical result was then validated to mathematical calculation.

Figure 3.1: Node numbers, member numbers, supports and loading distribution.

3.2 Dynamic modeling and analysis

Simple harmonic motion (SHM) of single degree of freedom (SDOF) of the modified prototype
bridge was also modeled using STAAD Pro. The modeling construction was done as skeletal structure
(framing structure) with 6 nodes and 5 member elements. Node 5 and node 6 were assigned as fixed
support at the column, member 4 and member 5 were assigned as the pier column (1000mm diameter,
6.5m high) and member 1,2 and 3 were assigned as the capping beam (1.5m high x 1.6m depth x 9.5m
length). The concentrated lumped mass was position on top of the model (automatically centralized
by STAAD Pro system) and expressed as SELFWEIGHT (in both direction, x and y-axis) of the
bridge pier. In order to fulfill the simple harmonic motion (SHM) motion of equation, the stiffness
( ) k of the column was required. A pre-determined drifts value in percentage varies from 0.01%, 0.1%,
0.25%, 0.5%, and 0.75% to 1% applied to the time-displacement and time-acceleration sine function.

A simple harmonic motion is introduced to the model analysis which intended to obtain the time-
displacement function of the model. The maximum displacements of the top column of the model
under the time history load case are also obtained. The second derivation of displacement vs. time
following the harmonic motion, ) (sin ) (
t A t u = = = the acceleration amplitude is calculated
according to the 6 conditions of drifts. The displacement amplitude (A) is pre-calculated according to
the 6 conditions of drifts. The acceleration vs. time function is plotted for each and every drifts value
and tabulated for 6 conditions of period (T) and frequency (f). The angular frequency, (=) is
determined by the stiffness of the columns, (k) and the total mass of the skeletal structure (m).

3.2.1 Acceleration versus Time Function in STAAD Pro

Translational acceleration load are used to simulate the ground motion of the time history analysis
acceleration record in STAAD Pro. STAAD Pro software assumes complete fixity to all supports
(since the modified prototype bridge pier model are constructed as monolithic structure). Then
STAAD Pro automatically computed the acceleration loads at each nodes and structural model.
During analysis, acceleration couples with mass and STAAD Pro has distributed the mass of the
model to all joints. For this model, Node 1, 2, 3 and 4 are having similar distributed mass and they
will be no mass distribution for joints or nodes that has been assigned as supports.

Each and every set of the single degree of freedom (SDOF) analysis, acceleration vs. time function is
plotted using the function of ) (sin ) (
t A t u = = = . The tabulated data of time (s) and acceleration
amplitude (mm/sec
) is plotted using Microsoft Excel and a sine wave curve is drawn. The drawn
curve from Microsoft Excel is considered as a theoretical results and the tabulated data is then used as
an input data of STAAD Pro Time History Acceleration Function command.

3.2.2 Displacement versus Time Function in STAAD Pro

Time-Displacement function which resulted to the maximum displacement of the modified prototype
bridge pier model is obtained upon the STAAD Pro time history-acceleration loads analysis for single
degree of freedom (SDOF) system. The result retrieved from STAAD Pro postprocessing mode was
as graphic mode (the displacement vs. time curve).

3.2.3 Supplementary Results from Dynamic Analysis

Apart from the validation of the lateral displacement of the model, verification and validation of the
Rayleigh frequency of the model were calculated as well. The equation for calculating Rayleigh
frequency is depending on the lateral displacement of the model, the magnitude of the horizontal force
(by means the weight of the skeletal structure applied in horizontal direction, which is the
SELFWEIGHT in x-direction) and the mass of the skeletal model. Rayleigh frequency (which units in
cycle per second, cps) produced from STAAD Pro were then validated by the mathematical
calculation of equation as follow
Rayleigh Frequency,

Equation 3.1
W = Weight of the skeletal structure (kN)
M = Mass of the skeletal structure (kg)


Both static and dynamic analysis results were validated and verified using mathematical solution. The
difference percentages were calculated and the difference value has been set limited to below 5% and
concluded as verified and acceptable.

4.1 Static analysis result and discussion

For static analysis, the result of bending moment, BM (kN-m), shear force, V (kN) and reaction at
supports, R (kN) were summarized, compared between analytical (STAAD pro) and mathematical.
The difference percentage for bending moment, BM and shear force, V and support at reactions, R,
are as shown in Table 4.1 and Table 4.2, respectively.

Table 4.1: Percentage difference between analytical and theoretical results for bending moment and
shear force

3 504.56 504.56 0 3 630.142 630.1415 0
2 504.56 504.56 0 2 577.598 577.598 0
2 -349.676 -349.677 0.003
3 0 0 0 4 0 0 0
1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
1 -504.56 -504.56 0 2 630.142 630.1415 0
2 -504.56 -504.56 0 3 577.598 577.598 0

Table 4.2: Percentage difference between analytical and theoretical results for support reaction

(Manual Calc.)
3 1207.74 1207.74 0
2 1207.74 1207.74 0
1 1207.74 1207.74 0
2 1207.74 1207.74 0

The comparison between analytical (STAAD Pro) and theoretical verification were done for the static
analysis. The validation was made for STAAD pro with the manual calculation. Theoretically, the
value obtained for manual calculation did not show a huge different than the value STAAD Pro had
produced. Discussing Table 4.1 and Table 4.2 summarized that values for bending moment, shear
force and reaction at supports exhibit almost no differences between analytical and theoretical
calculation. Therefore, the manual calculation procedure is correctly performed.

Hereafter, the static analysis of the modified prototype of bridge pier was announced validated
theoretically and the results are acceptable. Then, STAAD Pro is satisfied to be used to prolong the
study of the dynamic analysis.

4.2 Dynamic analysis result and discussion

4.1 Time-displacement and Rayleigh Frequencies

For simple harmonic motion (SHM) to be done in STAAD Pro, acceleration amplitude was needed in
time history fundamental command. The main parameters obtained are the maximum lateral
displacement and the time-displacement curve of the modified prototype bridge pier model (a skeletal
structure). Nonetheless, STAAD Pro has produced other interesting results which can be discussed
further in this chapter. The additional results are the mode shapes of the model, modal frequency,
mass participation Rayleigh frequency, maximum base shear at times and peak ground acceleration
(PGA) extruded from time-acceleration relationships. The modified prototype bridge pier model,
validation and verification is made for the maximum lateral displacement and the Rayleigh frequency
of the model. The best presentation of the validation comparison can be shown through Table 4.1 and
summarized into the percentage differences between the analytical and theoretical dynamic results.

Both analyses shows that with the increment of drift percentage value, the maximum lateral
displacement of the model is also increase. The increment of the lateral displacement is supported by
the increment of the time (starting from 60s to 210s) for the model to be analyzed. Initially at the drift
of only 0.01%, the maximum lateral displacement produced by STAAD Pro is only 0.6195mm and
Microsoft Excel with 0.65mm. When the drift percentage is at 1%, the maximum lateral displacement
from STAAD Pro is 61.9531mm lesser 3.0469mm from Microsoft Excel output at 65.00mm. The
huge increment in lateral displacement occurred from 0.01% to 1% of drift, which is 61.3336mm for
STAAD Pro and 64.35mm for Microsoft Excel. Hence, the average percentage differences between
STAAD Pro and Microsoft Excel shown in Table 4.1 are only 4.705%. Therefore, time-displacement
relationships produced by Microsoft Excel are considered acceptable since the average percentage
difference is less than 5%. The differences occurred in such a way due to both medium capability in
processing dynamic datas into graphical output and result for dynamic analysis.

Additional validations output from STAAD Pro, which was Rayleigh frequency for each and every
maximum lateral displacement obtained. The Rayleigh frequencies obtained from STAAD Pro were
not constantly increasing in value with the increment of time. Rayleigh frequency is depending much
in the lateral displacement value as the weight (W) and mass (m) of the structure are constants. The
result shows that at the lowest maximum lateral displacement of the model which denoted by drift
0.01%, the Rayleigh frequency is the highest among others, which are 19.98345Hz from STAAD Pro
and 19.54939Hz from theoretical calculation. The Rayleigh frequency values keep fluctuated between
drift 0.1% to 0.75% and ended up with the lowest Rayleigh frequency value at drift 1% for 1.99835Hz
from STAAD Pro and 1.954939Hz from theoretical calculation. The drop of Rayleigh frequency from
drift 0.01% to 1% is almost 10%. Percentage difference between analytical (STAAD Pro) and
theoretical results were also presented. The difference made was much lesser than the comparison
done to maximum lateral displacement of the model. For Rayleigh frequency average percentage
difference is only 2.18%, which is far lesser than the set limit of 5% to make the results acceptable.
The theoretical formula used can be said as verified and validated.

Table 4.1: Result comparison and percentage differences between analytical and theoretical analysis
of the model

Total Time,




0.6195 0.65
60 4.69
6.1953 6.5
90 4.69
15.4852 16.25
120 4.71
30.964 32.5
150 4.73
46.450 48.75
180 4.72
61.9531 65
210 4.69






60 2.17
0.10 6.31932
90 2.17
0.25 3.99709
120 2.18
0.50 2.82666
150 2.19
0.75 2.30793
180 2.19
1.00 1.99835
210 2.17

The time-displacement relationships verified by Microsoft Excel as the requirement of this study for
mathematical comparison are shown in Figure 4.1.

Figure 4.1: Time-Displacement Curve for all 6 Drifts of the Modified Prototype Bridge pier model
(from Microsoft Excel (Spreadsheet))

4.2 Maximum base shear, Mode shape and modal frequencies of the model

Table 4.2: Maximum base shear, mode shape and modal frequencies for dynamic analysis produced
by STAAD Pro

Base Shear
Maximum Base
Shear Time
Mode 1 Frequency
Mode 2 Frequency
Mass Participation at
Node 1, Mode 1
0.01 82.59 7.033 6.891 149.444 100
0.10 825.92 7.033
6.891 149.444
0.25 2064.40 81.033
6.891 149.444
0.50 4127.94 81.029
6.891 149.444
0.75 6192.05 22.029
6.891 149.444
1.00 8259.24 7.033
6.891 149.444
(a) Max. Displacement 0.65mm (b) Max. Displacement 6.5mm
(c) Max. Displacement 6.25mm (d) Max. Displacement 32.50mm
(e) Max. Displacement 48.75mm (f) Max. Displacement 65mm

The increment of drift percentage and time, the maximum base shears are also increase. Though the
time recorded for the maximum base shear (the maximum capacity of the model to withstand the
dynamic motion in particular times based on peak ground acceleration (PGA)) is varies. The first two
drifts percentage which is 0.01% and 0.1%, the maximum base shear value are ten times higher but
the time recorded the same, which is 82.59kN (at 7.033s) and 825.92kN (at 7.033s), respectively. But
starting from the third drift percentage of 0.25% to 1%, the maximum base shear is keep increasing
from 2064.399kN (at 81.029s) to 8259.241kN (at 7.033s).

STAAD Pro mode shape results produces two types of mode shape, which are mode shape 1 (normal
mode shape) and mode shape 2 (torsional mode shape). Figure 4.2 shows the normal mode shape
which the shape reflecting the usual lateral displacement of a model. Figure 4.3 shows the torsional
mode shape which the movement of the model of the bridge pier is like in twisting motion (torsion)
due to the torsional ground motion effect.


It has been demonstrated and performed that both static and analysis of the multi-column pier of
unskewed bridge using STAAD Pro were verified and satisfactory validated by concept of theories.
The maximum lateral displacements and Rayleigh frequency of the modified prototype bridge pier
model was studied on various percentages of drift and analytical result was validated by manual
calculation. Model analyzed under free vibration without damping system shows that with the
increasing of drift percentage, the maximum lateral displacement is also increase. On the other hand
with the increment of drift percentage (corresponding to increasing of maximum lateral
displacement), the Rayleigh frequency is dropped. The increasing of maximum lateral displacement
and decreasing of Rayleigh frequency were due to the collective time assigned to the model. Overall,
the results and comparisons obtained were acceptable and utilization of STAAD Pro is appropriate.

This study was only done in 2D analysis using STAAD Pro (as STAAD Pro is infamous finite
element analysis software (FEM) compared to ANSYS, CIS, RUAMOKO, SAP2000 and more), yet
has the great potential to prolong the study by performing 3D analysis using similar software and
setting up laboratory experiment. Therefore, result from this study can be made as a comparison and
input data to the laboratory works and search for the best performance of the bridge model under
dynamic loading.

Figure 4.2: Mode shape 1, Frequency
6.891Hz (Normal Mode Shape)

Figure 4.3: Mode shape 2, Frequency
149.444Hz (Torsional Mode Shape)


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and Environmental Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Australia, 703-708.

N.Munirudrappa, N. K. (2004). Response of Slant Legged Skew Bridge Under Dynamic Loading.
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& Sons, Inc.

Wikipedia. (2013, December 16). Peak Ground Acceleration.

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