Evaluation of Fire-Damaged Bridges: A Case Study


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Title: Evaluation of Fire-Damaged Bridges: A Case Study

Author(s): S.T. Wyatt

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 277


Appears on pages(s): 58-66

Keywords: bridges, damage, evaluation, fire, rehabilitation

Date: 3/1/2011

Highway bridges are periodically exposed to fires that can cause severe and extensive damage to critical components. After such an occurrence, bridge owners are immediately faced with several critical questions, including: • Is the structure safe for use by the public? • Does the damaged bridge require load posting? • How has the service-life been affected? • What repair or rehabilitation alternatives are available? To properly answer owner concerns regarding the safety and serviceability of critical infrastructure, a complete evaluation consisting of visual inspection, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), and laboratory testing is required. The objective of the evaluation is to identify the depth and extent of fire damage as well as any change in the physical or material properties in the steel and concrete. This paper entails a discussion of fire related damage mechanisms to highway structures, NDT methods and technologies available for evaluation of fire-damaged bridge elements and repair alternatives to return bridges to safe operation and restore the intended service life. Three case studies will be discussed to demonstrate application of the inspection and evaluation process presented.