Probabilistic structural assessment of railway masonry arch bridges


Moreira, Vicente Novo; Matos, José C.; Oliveira, Daniel V.

Masonry arch bridges; Limit analysis; Safety assessment; Statistical uncertainty; Probabilistic assessment; Bayesian inference

Most of masonry arch bridges dates from ancient times, having an important historical value to society, thus requiring appropriate conservation approaches. Regarding masonry arch bridge’s structural condition, considering its age, and consequently deterioration, and the fact that they are submitted to loads much higher than those existing at their construction period, it is imperative to evaluate the structural performance of these structures. This paper will expose a methodology for safety assessment of masonry arch bridges, namely in terms of ultimate load-carrying capacity, determined by limit analysis. Monitoring and material characterization are standard procedures in safety assessment and, will be shown that Bayesian techniques are a useful tool to incorporate new gathered information in structural analysis model. Safety assessment procedures described in the article will be applied to a Portuguese stone masonry arch bridge from the 19th century.