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Research

Coastal Bridge Vulnerability

A functional bridge and roadway system is critical in the aftermath of coastal storms, such as hurricanes.  However, past hurricane events such as Hurricanes Ivan, Katrina, and Ike have underscored the potential vulnerability of coastal bridges to damage from storm surge and wave loading.  Padgett's group and collaborators have reported on extensive field reconiassance findings from such events highlighted the typical failure modes stemming from impact, wind and water inundation, scour, and surge induced loading. These events have signified the need for models to predict the reliability of coastal bridges, which provide a basis for risk mitigation efforts and emergency planning in regions susceptible to hurricane hazards. Recent research in Padgett's group has therefore introduced a method to assess the fragility, or conditional failure probability, of typical coastal bridges considering such modes of failure as span shifting or unseating that render a bridge impassable or unsafe to use. The proposed approach can be applied for risk assessment of coastal bridge inventories across the country and can enable a first phase screening of vulnerable structures. Ongoing work tests the sensitivity of fluid-structure interaction (FSI) modeling of bridge behavior under surge and wave to parameter uncertainty, and tests the validity of alternative statistical learning techniques to be used for surrogate modeling of bridge behavior under such loads. Furthermore, this work forms a foundation to evaluate the effectiveness different retrofit or rehabilitation measures for coastal bridges to mitigate the risks of bridge damage and functionality impairment of the transportation network.  Additionally, the framework provided by this research can support the selection of viable emergency response and post-hurricane reentry routes as shown in the case study below.


Coastal Bridge Vulnerability