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NCHRP Project 12-49: Comprehensive Specification for the Seismic Design of Bridges

The "Comprehensive Specification for the Seismic Design of Bridges" project was carried out by a team of practicing engineers and researchers under a joint venture partnership between the Applied Technology Council (ATC) and MCEER.

This project, funded by the Transportation Research Board through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 12-49, provides a new specification that includes the latest knowledge about the seismic performance of bridges, for consideration by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). This specification is summarized in NCHRP Report 472 (pdf), and is fully described in three ATC-MCEER Joint Venture publications, Recommended LRFD Guidelines for the Seismic Design of Highway Bridges.

The Recommended Guidelines are based on significant enhancements in the state of knowledge and state of practice resulting from research investigations and lessons learned from earthquakes over the last 15 years. They consist of specifications, commentary, and appendices developed to be compatible with the existing load-and-resistance-factor design (LRFD) provisions for highway bridges published by AASHTO. The new, updated, provisions are nationally applicable and cover all seismic zones, as well as all bridge construction types and materials. They reflect the latest design philosophies and approaches that will result in highway bridges with a high level of seismic performance. Two companion studies were conducted to (1) investigate the effects of liquefaction and (2) develop design examples using the NCHRP 12-49 provisions.

Additional Resources

Recommended Changes to the AASHTO Specifications for the Seismic Design of Highway Bridges
(included in Research Progress and Accomplishments: 2000 - 2001)

Research Team

Project Management and Project Team

Project Engineering Panel

NCHRP Project Panel C12-49

MCEER Bulletin Articles

Recommended LRFD Guidelines Benefit Bridge Designers (Summer 2005)

New Reports: ATC/MCEER Joint Venture Publishes New LRFD Guidelines for Bridges (Spring 2004)

ATC/MCEER Joint Venture Publishes New LRFD Guidelines for Bridges (Summer 2003)

T-3 State Bridge Engineers Meet in Albuquerque (Summer 2003)