Probabilistic Assessment of Coastal Bridge Vulnerability to Wave Loading During Hurricanes

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Pervaiz, Fahad
Hummel, Michelle

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Bridges located in coastal areas may be subjected to extreme wave and surge loading during coastal storm events, potentially leading to damage or even collapse. Understanding the loading and response of bridges during storms is critical to ensuring the resilience and reliability of transportation infrastructure in coastal regions. This study develops and applies a probabilistic bridge vulnerability framework that allows for coupled simulation of time-varying wave loading using OpenFOAM, dynamic structural response using OpenSees, and uncertainty quantification using Dakota. The framework is applied to evaluate bridge failure potential under wave and surge loading based on conditions observed during Hurricane Ike. Simulations were run on the Stampede2 system at TACC. Results indicate that waves with high peak periods and long wavelengths are the primary contributors to bridge instability. During Hurricane Ike, extreme wave loading exceeds the resistance of the typical bridge structure over 70% of the time, leading to sliding, uplifting, and overturning. Vertical stability of the bridge is most sensitive to uncertainties in the concrete density, while horizontal stability is most sensitive to uncertainties in the lateral stiffness of the bearings. Results from this research can inform the development of improved design standards for coastal bridges and/or the selection of appropriate countermeasures to improve bridge stability. The proposed computational framework can be applied across transportation systems to quantify failure probabilities and prioritize maintenance and retrofitting efforts for coastal bridges.


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