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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2007

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Volume 21, Number 1, Spring 2007

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Latest Techniques for Seismic Retrofit of Bridges Presented


From left: Ian Buckle, Peter Dusica, Phil Yen, Darrel Manceau, Richard Nutt, Anoosh Shamsabi and Jerry O’Connor

Over the past several months, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and MCEER have held several workshops on the seismic retrofitting of bridges, based on the newly released “Seismic Retrofitting Manual for Highway Structures.” Phil Yen and John O’Fallon, both FHWA contracting office technical representatives (COTRs), have overseen MCEER’s highway project research, the development of the retrofitting manuals, and subsequently, the content of the workshops.

A one-day Seismic Retrofit of Bridges workshop was held in San Mateo, California on September 17, 2006, as part of the Fifth National Seismic Conference on Bridges and Highways. Over 60 participants, representing several state departments of transportation and engineering consultants, attended the full day event.

Session moderator Derrell Manceaux, FHWA, was pleased with the turnout and enthusiastic participation of the attendees. Presenters were Phillip Yen, FHWA, Ian Buckle, University of Nevada Reno, Peter Dusicka, Portland State University, Anoosh Shamsabadi, Caltrans and Richard Nutt, Structural Engineering Consultant. Geoff Martin, University of Southern California, and Earth Mechanics and Jerry O’Connor, MCEER, contributed behind the scenes.

The workshop covered the performance-based philosophy described in the manual as well as an overview of seismic and geotechnical hazards, geotechnical modeling and capacity assessment, and retrofitting strategies and approaches with specific examples to illustrate the concepts.

On June 13, 2006, FHWA and MCEER convened Seismic Design and Retrofit of Bridges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as part of the International Bridge Conference. About 60 engineers were updated on what is considered state-of-the-art in the seismic design of new bridges, seismic retrofitting, response modification, and geotechnical considerations.

Presenters were Roy Imbsen, Consulting Engineer; Phillip Yen, FHWA; Andrew Whittaker, University at Buffalo; and Ken Fishman, McMahon and Mann, Consulting Engineers.

The workshop presenters emphasized the implications of adopting performance based design/retrofit objectives and the inherent need for deformation-based, rather than the traditional force-based, methods of analysis. Advantages and limitations of simplified methods were described as well as alternative approaches involving more rigorous methods and corresponding requirements in terms of computational effort, site characterization, and soil modeling.

Visit the Seismic Retrofitting Workshops page for more information about the workshops.