Houston, TX 77005
1:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, 2013
On Campus | Alumni
Bridges are the most critical components of the transportation network. The functionality of bridges is important for hurricane aftermath recovery and emergency activities. However, past hurricane events revealed the potential susceptibility of these bridges under storm induced wave and surge loads. Hurricanes are among the costliest disasters in the United States and pose significant threats to bridge and transportation infrastructure. The substantial damages to bridges during Hurricane Katrina, where 44 highway bridges were damaged, highlighted to potential inhibition to post-disaster recovery activities for a region, as well as substantial direct and indirect economic losses from a non-functioning transportation system. Damages to coastal bridges were also observed during other hurricane events such as Hurricane Camille, Ivan, Songda Typhoon in Japan, and in Houston/Galveston during Hurricane Ike. Research on climate change predicts more frequent and intense coastal storms in future. Furthermore, the population in the coastal regions is increasing, which results in heavier dependence upon the coastal transportation network as well as heightened development and siting of bridges in hazard prone regions. These facts underscore the importance of reliability assessment of coastal bridges under hurricane events. The goal of this research is to provide a framework for reliability assessment of coastal bridges under hurricane induced wave and surge loads. This reliability can be plotted against hazard intensity measures to provide a visual interpretation of structural vulnerability under different hazard condition, known as a fragility surface. Coastal bridges traditionally were not designed to sustain hurricane induced wave and surge loads; and furthermore, no reliability model exists for bridges exposed to this hazard. However, such a tool is imperative for decision makers to evaluate the risk posed to the existing bridge inventory, and decide on the retrofit measures and mitigation strategies. The unique contributions of this research are to provide systematic methodologies to analyze and evaluate the response of coastal bridges under hurricane wave and surge; provide probabilistic models for uncertainties involved in the capacity and demand modeling; employ these methods for construction of fragility surfaces of coastal bridges; compare these methodologies in terms of accuracy and computational efficiency; and assess the effectiveness of potential retrofit measures for bridges susceptible to coastal storms.