This paper presents a methodology to evaluate pipe stress induced by surface vehicle loading at uncased road crossings that are protected by mat or bridging. When vehicles cross an existing pipeline, additional circumferential and longitudinal pipe stresses induced by surface vehicle loadings should be comprehensively considered to ensure pipe integrity and safe operation. Surface protection measures are sometimes installed to distribute the surface loading away from pipe centerline and reduce “footprint pressure”. A modified CEPA equation was proposed to calculate the radius of relative stiffness (or effective length) of mat and was validated by comparing with results from continuum FEA. The effective length calculated by the modified equation demonstrates good consistency with the FEA-predicted effective length. An approach was proposed to evaluate the pipe stress with user-defined free span of bridging, which provide flexibility for optimizing bridging protection in the field. A tool was developed to facilitate the assessment of surface loading stress of pipeline with mat or bridging protection.
Case studies were presented to demonstrate the application of the proposed methods and the effect of mat thickness or bridging free span on the reduction of live load stress. The proposed methods will benefit pipeline operators with derived cost-effective protection measures for vehicle crossing while assuring safety of pipeline operation.