Spreadsheet for Load Rating of Gusset Plate

Gusset plate 

Invention Summary:

Gusset Plates are essential components of steel bridges and used to connect beams and columns. Concerns about the safety and reliability of gusset plates have been brought up to the bridge community after the collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis in 2007. An essential aspect to ensure public safety as well as property, load rating analysis of existing gusset plates, needs to be appropriately established.

A team led by Hani Nassif, along with Peng Lou and Chan Yang at Rutgers Infrastructure Monitoring Evaluation Group (RIME) developed a software engineering tool to load rate the truss bridge gusset plates. The software is capable of load rate analysis of the gusset plate for both the Load Factor Rating (LFR) and Load and Resistance Factor Rating (LRFR). The load rating analysis follows the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) the Manual for Bridge Evaluation (MBE) 3rd, 2018. The developed tool can be used for various gusset plate connections and configurations, such as bolted connections, riveted connections, and welded connections. In addition, the tool is capable of solving load rating analysis of special cases. The special cases include gusset plates with section losses, combination connection such as staggered bolt pattern, and gusset plates with no plans. Those special cases were not well addressed in the existing AASHTO manuals or specifications. As a pilot project, the tool has already been used and checked by NJDOT and two other major consultants for load rating gusset plates.

Market Applications:

  • Bridge inspection consultants, contactors, and service providers.
  • Transportation agencies and asset owners.


  • Accurately evaluation of potential structural defects in gusset plates of steel truss bridges.
  • Conforms to the most up-to-date load rating provisions.
  • Improves the safety of bridges.
  • Solutions for special cases which were not addressed by up-to-date AASHTO manuals or specifications.

How It Works:

The users can download the spreadsheet tool. The detailed instruction about using the tool is available in the “Introduction” tab of the downloaded spreadsheet tool. The major input needed are, General Information, Materials, Factors, Plate Geometry, Member Geometry, Section Loss, Splice Plate Geometry, Fastener, Weld Size, and Loads. Once input has been filled, the final load rating factors will be provided in the “Output” and “LRSS” tab.

What It Provides: 

The output of the tool would provide both the as-built and as-inspected rating factors for all individual members. In addition, the governing ratings would be provided for various rating vehicles.

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Software available for licensing and download.


Patent Information:
Andrea Dick
Associate Director, Licensing
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey