A methodology for Determining the Seismic Vulnerability of Old Concrete Highway Bridges by Using Fragility Curves


1 Department of Civil Eng., Faculty of Engineering, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal

2 Department of Civil Eng., Faculty of Engineering, University Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, Morelia, Mexico


Past earthquakes have demonstrated that old RC bridges may be seismically vulnerable. Bridge responses during the last decades illustrated the necessity of the seismic assessment of bridges especially those which were designed with old codes. In this research an existing concrete bridge representative of the most common bridges in the highway system in Iran are studied. Push over and nonlinear time history analyses using refined 3-D structural models are performed for each sample. Bridge structural systems are identified and quantified to establish a set of earthquake-site-bridge samples. The superstructure was assumed to remain elastic and the nonlinear behavior in piers was modeled by assigning plastic hinges in columns. The soil flexibility was considered by using elastic spring elements. Displacement ductility and peak ground acceleration (PGA) were selected as seismic performance indicator and intensity measure, respectively. Ten time history records from the past earthquakes were selected. They were scaled and applied incrementally to the 3-D model to evaluate seismic performance of the bridge. Furthermore, bridge damage states were defined and the probabilistic characteristics of structural capacity corresponding to each damage state were established. Then, the conditional probabilities of specific structural demand to exceed the structural capacity were computed and the results were displayed as fragility curves.