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At present, more powerful tools for numerical modelling and structural analysis are available for the use in fatigue design and assessment of complex structures. Taking advantage of these tools, structural hot spot stress approach (SHSS) can predict the fatigue life with more accuracy than the nominal stress method. It incorporates the effect of structural geometry into the local stress ranges at the welds and predicts the fatigue life based on these local stress ranges. In this study, application of the method on a joint available in the orthotropic bridge decks was investigated. Fatigue tests were carried out on full-scale specimens. In the analytical part, various finite element models were made. Different modelling techniques to incorporate the weld itself into shell element models were also investigated and compared to the results from the experiments and to those obtained from solid element models.