This article examines advances in methods for assessing the strength of masonry arch bridges. Many structures on the non-motorway part of the UK's road network are well over 100 years old, and over 50% of them, about 40,000, are brick or stone arch bridges. Like the UK's other road bridges, these bridges are now being assessed to determine if they can carry the new generation of 40t lorries. As most masonry arch bridges were not built with design codes in mind, there are few data to help engineers to calculate what loads they can carry. Masonry arch bridges have been remarkably durable and required very little maintenance. Empirical methods are good for assessing existing bridges, but not sufficient for finding if their capacity can be increased. The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and other organisations are collaborating in the Skewarch research programme to study the behaviour of skewed masonry arch bridges. Skewarch has three components - experimental, theoretical, and management - and aims to produce eventually an analytical tool to assess existing masonry arch bridges and design new structures. The experiments included laboratory and field bridge tests to destruction. Existing arch theory was reviewed, and new arch theory was developed. Test results are being used to develop a commercially viable product.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Thomas Telford Limited

    London,   United Kingdom 
  • Authors:
    • COLE, M
  • Publication Date: 1996


  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00729839
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Dec 26 1996 12:00AM