World Road Congress: workshop on Mitigation of bridge failure by large overloads

World Road Congress: workshop on Mitigation of bridge failure by large overloads

03. 10. 2023

Experts on bridges and infrastructure management prepared interesting presentations on the importance of gathering information on overloaded vehicles when it comes to the protection of bridges, current technological solutions for bridge safety, and state policies for tackling these issues.

Joey Hartman (FHWA National Highway Institute) delved into an overview of overloads and bridge safety in the USA. Among other things, he emphasized the importance of the bridge formula, which correlates the distance between the outer axles of a truck with the group axle weight.

Short heavy trucks are especially problematic for the safety of bridges

Bernard Jacob (Université Gustave Eiffel) presented ways in which to mitigate the danger massively overloaded vehicles pose to bridges. He also drew attention to the worrying statistics on the state of bridges in France.

15 % of bridges in France were determined to be in poor structural condition

From Germany, Jens Dierke (Federal Highway Research Institute) and Yvonne-Christine Gunreben (German Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport) presented the ways in which the German state tackles the problem of effective bridge protection.

Germany is testing bridge WIM technology to complement the existing network of road WIM systems

Older bridges, which were constructed in the era before modern construction codes were in place, pose an even bigger challenge for safety. Aleš Žnidarič (Zavod za gradbeništvo Slovenije – Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute) and Dimitrios Papastergiou (Federal Roads Office FEDRO) presented the most common issues with older bridges as well as examples of good practices in managing these structures in Slovenia and Switzerland.

Older bridges present additional set of challenges
Overloaded vehicles have a complex and multilayered effect on bridges

The last presentation, prepared by Rob Heywood (Heywood Engineering Solutions) and Torill Pape (Department of Transport and Main Roads), showed us some real life examples of the effect the massive heavy goods vehicles have on bridges, as measured by bridge WIM and structural health monitoring sensors.

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