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Vector-Valued Probabilistic Seismic Hazard Assessment for the Effects of Vertical Ground Motions on the Seismic Response of Highway Bridges

Gülerce, Zeynep
Abrahamson, Norman A.
The vertical ground motion component is disregarded in the design of ordinary highway bridges in California, except for the bridges located in high seismic zones (sites with design horizontal peak ground acceleration greater than 0.6 g). The influence of vertical ground motion on the seismic response of single-bent, two-span highway bridges designed according to Caltrans Seismic Design Code (SDC-2006) is evaluated. A probabilistic seismic hazard framework is used to address the probability of exceeding the elastic capacity for various structural parameters when the vertical component is included. Negative mid-span moment demand is found to be the structural parameter that is most sensitive to vertical accelerations. A series of hazard curves for negative mid-span moment are developed for a suite of sites in Northern California. The annual probability of exceeding the elastic capacity of the negative mid-span moment is as large as 0.01 for the sites close to active faults when the vertical component is included. Simplified approaches based on the distance to major faults or the median design peak acceleration show that there is a large chance (0.4 to 0.65) of exceeding the elastic limit if the current 0.6 g threshold is used for the consideration of vertical ground motions for ordinary highway bridges. The results of this study provide the technical basis for consideration of a revision of the 0.6 g threshold. [DOI: 10.1193/1.3464548]