LRFD Calibration of Bridge Foundations Subjected to Scour and Risk Analysis
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Bridge scour is the loss of soil by erosion due to water flowing around bridge supports. Scour has been the number one cause of bridge collapse in the United States with an average rate of 22 bridges collapsing each year. This dissertation addresses three topics related to bridge scour. First, three sets of databases are used to quantify the statistical parameters associated with the scatter between the predicted and measured scour depth as well as the probability that a deterministically predicted scour depth will be exceeded. The analysis results from these databases will also be used to provide the bias factors in the scour depth predictions in practice. In the second part of the dissertation, these statistical parameters are used to develop a reliability-based Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) for shallow and deep foundations subjected to scour. The goal is to provide a design procedure for the bridge foundations, where the reliability of the foundation is the same with or without scour. For shallow foundations, the key of the design issue is the location of the foundation depth and the probability that the scour depth will exceed the foundation depth. Therefore, for shallow foundations, the proposed LRFD calibration is based on the probability of exceedance of the predicted scour depth. However for deep foundations, the key of the design issue is the resistance factor associated with the axial capacity of a pile. Hence, the proposed LRFD calibration for deep foundations is based on a reliability analysis using First-Order Reliability Method (FORM). The dissertation is broadened in the third part by analyzing he risk associated with bridge scour, where the risk is defined as the probability of failure times the value of the consequences. In the third part, the risk associated with bridge scour is compared to risks associated with other engineering structures as well. Target values of acceptable risk are recommended as part of the conclusions. The outcome of the research will modify the current “AASHTO LRFD Bridge Design Specifications” developed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and help the practitioners design foundations of bridges over rivers for a uniform probability of failure in the case of scour. The risk of bridge scour is also quantified in the dissertation, and compared with common societal risks and civil engineering risks. It will help engineers understand the risk level associated with bridge scour.
Yao, Congpu (2013). LRFD Calibration of Bridge Foundations Subjected to Scour and Risk Analysis. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from