Phase I of Roadmap Towards Incorporating Intelligent Structure Technology for Refining Bridge Inspection in Mississippi
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Phase I of Roadmap Towards Incorporating Intelligent Structure Technology for Refining Bridge Inspection in Mississippi

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  • Abstract:
    Bridge scour refers to the removal of sediments from the bridge foundation by flood. It is the most detrimental cause for the majority of bridge failures in the United States. In the National Bridge Registry, there are 484,546 highway bridges over waterways. More than 85,000 of these bridges are considered vulnerable to scour, and about 26,000 of them are classified as “scour critical”, which means the bridge is likely to fail in a major flood event. When a bridge is subjected to scour and flood, a management decision on its operation, closure, retrofitting, or replacement should be made based on assessment of its performance levels. The performance levels are actually associated with bridges’ vertical and horizontal displacement and remaining load resistance, and may be determined through more realistic computational simulations. To that end, it is crucial to determine the structural system properties and loading characteristics and assess their accuracy. While a bridge’s structural parameters are relatively easy to examine, the properties of a bridge’s foundation, subgrade soil, and characteristics of flood impacts are deemed difficult to estimate. This difficulty is compounded if the buried portion of the bridge’s foundation is unknown. Since the performance of scoured-bridges involves several uncertainties, it may be better addressed in terms of its performance reliability using probabilistic framework. In this research, a Bayesian Inference probabilistic frame work for assessment of the performance of scoured bridges is proposed. An extensive literature review of pervious research, as well as current sensor technology, is conducted. Computational simulation of a real scoured bridge is also illustrated. Preliminary results show that the scoured bridge can be modeled using commercial available software such as SAP 2000. Effects of foundation soil, connection types, flood height, traffic loads, and scour depths can all be simulated in the finite element model. Results from computation simulation indicate that the traffic loads have very minor impacts on structural properties. Results also indicate that the fundamental frequencies of the structures vary with foundation soil, and the scour depth significantly affects the structure’s natural frequencies. Effects of bridge connections and possible failure modes as a result of severe scour are also presented.
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