Stay cables are the main load-bearing components of stayed-cable bridges. The cables stress status is an important factor to the stayed-cable bridge structure safety evaluation. So it's very important not only to the bridge construction, but also to the long-term safety evaluation for the bridge structure in-service. The accurate measurement for cable load depends on an effective sensor, especially to meet the long time durability and measurement demand. FBG, for its great advantage of corrosion resistance, absolute measurement, high accuracy, electro-magnetic resistance, quasi-distribution sensing, absolute measurement and so on, is the most promising sensor, which can cater for the cable force monitoring. In this paper, a load sensor has been developed, which is made up of a bushing elastic supporting body, 4 FBGs uniformly-spaced attached outside of the bushing supporting body, and a temperature compensation FBG for other four FBGs, moreover a cover for protection of FBGs. Firstly, the sensor measuring principle is analyzed, and relationship equation of FBG wavelength shifts and extrinsic load has also been gotten. And then the sensor calibration experiments of a steel cable stretching test with the FBG load sensor and a reference electric pressure sensor is finished, and the results shows excellent linearity of extrinsic load and FBG wavelength shifts, and good repeatability, which indicates that such kind of FBG-based load sensor is suitable for load measurement, especially for long-term, real time monitoring of stay-cables.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.