The current analytical description of the buffeting action of wind on long-span bridges is based on the strip assumption. However, recent experiments on closed-box girder bridge decks have shown that this assumption is not valid and is the source of an important part of the error margin of the analytical prediction methods. In this paper, an analytical model that departs from the strip assumption is used to describe the gust loading on a thin airfoil. A parallel is drawn between the analytical model and direct measurements of gust loading on motionless closed-box girder bridge decks. Empirical models of aerodynamic admittance and span-wise coherence of the aerodynamic forces are proposed for a family of deck cross-sections. (C) 1998 Academic Press.