Analytical Tools for Resilience of Lifeline Highway Bridges to Tsunami Events

Extreme tsunami events in the 21st century, particularly the 2004 Indian Ocean and 2011 Great East Japan events, have put the vulnerability of coastal transportation infrastructure to tsunamis at the front of bridge engineering design and assessment. The 2011 Japan event was particularly eye-opening because its infrastructure was designed to resist very high seismic risk; however, many bridges were washed away or rendered unserviceable due to wave loading. In response to these events, several experimental and analytical research projects have been undertaken to improve the resilience of transportation infrastructure to tsunami attack. Detailed, time consuming analyses are required to capture fluid-structure interaction during tsunami runup and inundation and the results are highly variable due to uncertain boundary conditions and uncertain wave loading scenarios. The intended result of these experiments and analyses is, among other things, to develop loading equations for engineers to quickly assess the impact of tsunami loading on bridges. In this project, simplified analytical models and loading conditions are developed in order to estimate horizontal tsunami loads on bridge superstructures. Comparisons are made with wave flume experiments made available by the Public Works Research Institute (PWRI) in Japan. In addition, the role of connections and/or substructure flexibility is explored and response spectra are developed. The results indicate the simplified approach reasonably predicts peak horizontal forces, but without any clear trends. As expected, the simplified analyses are not able to capture high intensity impact forces owing to pressure shocks. In addition, as the natural period of the bridge system increases, e.g., due to added flexibility, the forces in the connections and/or substructure tend to increase. Again, the simplified analysis ignores the interaction of structure and fluid as flexibility is added to the system. The simple analytical approach offers a framework for developing and defining tsunami loading equations and it can also be applied to equations for uplift and downward force

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Oregon State University, Corvallis

    School of Civil and Construction Engineering
    Corvallis, OR  United States  97331

    Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium

    University of Washington
    More Hall Room 112
    Seattle, WA  United States  98195-2700

    Oregon Department of Transportation

    Salem, OR  United States 

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Scott, Michael H
  • Publication Date: 2018-8-30


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Project Report
  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 58p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01709095
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC40
  • Created Date: Jun 10 2019 9:39AM