A Method for Assessing Capacity Obsolescence of Highway Bridges

As of 2013, 14% of highway bridges were classified as functionally obsolete. This classification is given to bridges that have capacity and geometric conditions that do not satisfy modern requirements and thereby limit usage. The first part of this paper is a general discussion of obsolescence and sustainability of highway bridges, and describes the impact of obsolete bridges on economic, social, and environmental sustainability. The second part of the paper proposes a theoretical model for quantifying obsolescence due to load carrying capacity, a subcategory of functional obsolescence. The model includes features to account for increasing load demand and decreasing structural capacity over time. Historic trends for bridge design loads are discussed as they relate to the model, as are methods for calculating degradation of structural capacity. Limitations, applications, and possible extensions of the model are discussed. The third part of the paper applies the capacity obsolescence model to an example problem involving a simple span reinforced concrete bridge. The example demonstrates a methodology for simultaneously evaluating capacity obsolescence and environmental impact using multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). The paper concludes by suggesting future research to advance the proposed methodology. The overall objectives of the paper are to propose a model for quantifying obsolescence and to demonstrate how obsolescence can be jointly considered with other bridge design criteria.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AHD35 Bridge Management.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Jonnalagadda, Srimaruthi
    • Ross, Brandon E
    • Plumblee II, Jeffery M
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2015


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 22p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 94th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01553490
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 15-5316
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Feb 17 2015 10:30AM