Seismic damage of highway bridges during the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake
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Many highway bridges were severely damaged or completely collapsed during the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. A field investigation was carried out in the strongly affected areas and over 320 bridges were examined. Damage to some representative highway bridges is briefly described and a preliminary analysis of the probable causes of the damage is presented in this paper. The most common damage included shear-flexural failure of the pier columns, expansion joint failure, shear key failure, and girder sliding in the transversal or longitudinal directions due to weak connections between girder and bearings. Lessons learned from this earthquake are described and recommendations related to the design of curved and skewed bridges, design of bearings and devices to prevent girder collapse, and ductility of bridge piers are presented. Suggestions for future seismic design and retrofitting techniques for bridges in moderate to severe earthquake areas are also proposed.
KeywordsWenchuan earthquake seismic damage seismic design highway bridge field investigation
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