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Rating and reliability of existing bridges in a network

2003-11-01
Akgül, Ferhat
Frangopol, Dan M
Currently, the load rating is the method used by State DOTs for evaluating the safety and serviceability of existing bridges in the United States. In general, load rating of a bridge is evaluated when a maintenance, improvement work, change in strength of members, or addition of dead load alters the condition or capacity of the structure. The AASHTO LRFD specifications provide code provisions for prescribing an acceptable and uniform safety level for the design of bridge components. Once a bridge is designed and placed in service, the AASHTO Manual for Condition Evaluation of Bridges provides provisions for determination of the safety and serviceability of existing bridge components. Rating for the bridge system is taken as the minimum of the component ratings. If viewed from a broad perspective, methods used in the state-of-the-practice condition evaluation of bridges at discrete time intervals and in the state-of-the-art probability-based life prediction share common goals and principles. This paper briefly describes a study conducted on the rating and system reliability-based lifetime evaluation of a number of existing bridges within a bridge network, including prestressed concrete, reinforced concrete, steel rolled beam, and steel plate girder bridges. The approach is explained using a representative prestressed concrete girder bridge. Emphasis is placed on the interaction between rating and reliability results in order to relate the developed approach to current practice in bridge rating and evaluation. The results presented provide a sound basis for further improvement of bridge management systems based on system performance requirements.