Seismic assessment of an existing non-seismically designed major bridge-abutment-foundation system

Aman Mwafy, Oh Sung Kwon, Amr Elnashai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A comprehensive study carried out to assess the seismic response of a 59-span bridge using a refined inelastic modeling approach and considering Soil-Structure Interaction (SSI) is summarized in this paper. The focus is on describing the methodology adopted to idealize the bridge and its foundation system, while only highlights from the extensive elastic and inelastic analyses are presented. The bridge represents a typical case of vulnerable complex bridges since it was built in the early seventies with minimal seismic design requirements at a distance of about 5 km from a major fault. The SSI analysis is significant in this study due to the length of the bridge, the massive and stiff foundation, and the relatively soft deep soil of the site. A series of three-dimensional dynamic response simulations of the entire bridge are conducted using several analysis tools to verify the developed analytical models. The performance-based assessment study employs 144 site-specific input ground motions representing three seismic scenarios, corresponding to 500, 1000 and 2500 years return periods, to identify areas of vulnerability in the 2164-meter bridge at various hazard levels. It is concluded that the seismic response of the bridge at the 500 years ground motions does not meet today's standards, while the demands under the effect of the 1000 years ground motions almost exceed the capacity of most bridge components. The demands significantly increase under the effect of the 2500 years earthquake scenario and considerably exceed the collapse limit states. The results clearly reflect the benefit of retrofitting different bridge components to mitigate the anticipated seismic risk. The presented assessment study contributes to improve public safety by exploiting the most recent research outcomes in predicting the seismic response of complex highway bridges, which are essential for developing reliable and cost-effective retrofit strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2192-2209
Number of pages18
JournalEngineering Structures
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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