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MCEER Bulletin, Volume 22, Number 1, December 2008

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Volume 22, Number 1, December 2008

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New Project Focuses on Protecting Bridges from a
Variety of Hazards

two collapsed bridges with detached segments floating in water

Bridge span collapses during the Niigata earthquake (inset) were similar to damage caused by the storm surge during Hurricane Katrina.

MCEER was recently awarded a new multi-year project, entitled “Principles of Multiple-Hazard Design for Highway Bridges” from the Federal Highway Administration. Over the next four years, MCEER investigators will explore the fundamental design principles used to protect bridges from various extreme events. The aim is to develop a new methodology to provide for a more equitable treatment of all hazards based on probability of occurrence of each hazard and the risk of consequential bridge failure.

The project will involve the development of a comprehensive bridge failure database and a new methodology calibrated for establishing extreme event load combination design guidelines in AASHTO LRFD specifications, and case studies to validate the proposed approach.

MCEER will also continue its tradition of innovative technology development in emergency traffic rerouting software and in an international cooperative project on the development of sensors for bridge structural monitoring.

In addition, this project will support the development of relevant educational materials in a Master of Engineering degree concentration on Bridge Engineering in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo. The program will address the national need for structural engineers who are well-versed in intelligent highway infrastructure renewal.

George C. Lee is the Principal Investigator of the project, which will be completed in 2011.