Seismic Vulnerability of the Highway System

Task D3-1: Manual for the Design and Retrofit of Bridges with Earthquake Protective Systems

Subject Area: Earthquake Protective Systems 
Research Year 2

Principal Investigator(s) and Institution(s)

Ian G. Buckle, University of Nevada, Reno
Michael Constantinou, University at Buffalo


This task will develop an interim manual for the design and retrofit of highway bridges using seismic isolators, energy dissipaters (passive control), and other earthquake protective systems. This manual will be a clear, concise, and authoritative guide on the design and application of these new technologies to bridges.


Earthquake protective systems are now widely used as an alternative to conventional seismic design of buildings, bridges, and industrial plants. Guideline specifications have been developed for their use (particularly for buildings) and monographs written summarizing research developments in the field. But, to date, there are few if any textbooks on this subject intended for the general practitioner and those known to exist focus on building applications. This task will review the literature and develop a manual for bridge design engineers who have little or no knowledge of the theory or practice of protective systems. It will draw from many sources both published and unpublished, such as the lecture notes given to graduate classes by both Principal Investigators. To the extent possible, the material will be independent of proprietary bias.

This interim manual will reflect current practice and recent developments, and focus on seismic isolation and energy dissipation. In this regard, it will be fully compatible with the 1997 2nd edition of the AASHTO Guide Specifications for Seismic Isolation Design. An interim manual will be developed in Years 1 and 2, and a final version of the manual will be prepared under a separate task in Years 5 and 6. The final version will update the interim manual, based on research conducted under this project and elsewhere. The content may also be expanded to include hybrid protective systems and intelligent bearings, if these technologies are sufficiently advanced for practical bridge applications at that time.  


The principal product of the task is an interim manual for the design and retrofit of highway bridges using earthquake protective systems, use by bridge designers. Contents are expected to include section on background, basic principles including historical performance, design procedures for bridges with EPS, retrofitting considerations, selection of hardware, qualification and acceptance of hardware, and case studies.

Technical Challenges

None anticipated


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