Seismic Performance of Stone Masonry and Unreinforced Concrete Railroad Bridge Substructures

UTK Project Information

NuRail Project IDNURail2014-UTK-R10
Project TitleSeismic Performance of Stone Masonry and Unreinforced Concrete Railroad Bridge Substructures
UniversityUniversity of Tennessee at Knoxville
Project ManagerDave Clarke
Principal InvestigatorZ. John Ma
PI Contact
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)$100,000 NURail Funds; $40,000 ICA Inc.; $60,000 UTK
Total Project Cost$200,000
Agency ID or Contract NumberDTRT13-G-UTC52 (Grant 2)
Start Date2014-08-01
End Date2019-08-15
Brief Description of Research ProjectMasonry railroad bridge piers were widely used in early 1900. The use of concrete for bridge piers commenced in the 1920s. These piers have inherent weaknesses when subject to seismic loading which can be exacerbated by the quality of the concrete, its placement and the presence of construction joints. Although these piers are generally adequate for normal loading of the bridge, seismic loads are likely to cause significant damage, particularly if piers go into tension. The objective of this study is to evaluate the seismic resistance, damping, and energy absorption capabilities of old stone masonry and unreinforced concrete railroad bridge piers. Feasible and cost-effective strengthening methods will be identified to ensure that the retrofitted masonry and unreinforced concrete railroad bridge piers could accommodate a higher speed and satisfy seismic criteria without constructing new substructures. Results of this research will be very helpful in determining if new superstructures can be placed on existing masonry piers and abutments and satisfy seismic criteria. This could significantly impact cost savings compared to constructing new foundations and substructures for bridge replacement projects.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented)Research is in final phase, with report in progress. Outcomes are not yet ready for implementation.
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated)None at present.
Web Links
Project Website
Final ReportNURail2014-UTK-R10 Final Report-compressed.pdf