‘Safety first’ for bridges: by design

‘Safety first’ is the overriding criterion which governs key provisions in the new Australian Bridge Design Code. The safety provisions for bridges over railways are at the leading edge of world practice with emphasis on catering for derailed trains by providing clear spans or ‘pier-redundant’ bridges with frangible piers. The catalyst for the provisions was provided by the train disasters at Granville and at Eschede, Germany. ‘Pier-redundant’ bridges are also recommended for bridges over navigable waterways to avoid collapses such as that of the Tasman Bridge. This concept can minimise risks in many other situations such as bridges over streambeds susceptible to unpredictable or high rates of scour and piers susceptible to impact by road traffic. Two ‘pier-redundant’ bridges have been constructed in Australia over the Murray River at Berri and at Hindmarsh Island. These bridges enabled substantial savings in construction costs as well as ensuring the maximum safety for traffic on and under the bridge. Bridges over roads, especially freeways, can provide significant safety hazards to road traffic. The benefits of using safer bridging options by eliminating accident costs and human trauma need to be recognised in selecting the best bridging solutions. The prescriptive requirements for safety provisions in the Code are designed to ensure that bridges are selected taking a holistic view of the project, by considering the hazard they create as well as their function. This should ensure that bridge solutions are not selected just on the basis of lowest initial cost, which currently is the prevailing criterion. A methodology is required to clearly and objectively select the best bridging solutions taking safety aspects into account within available funds.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 7p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01391109
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • ISBN: 0855886986
  • Report/Paper Numbers: AP-G79/04
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 23 2012 5:18AM