Highway Bridge Fire Hazard Assessment

Fires can cause major disruption to highway operations. Major bridge fires resulting in serious structural damage or collapse are infrequent but are often highlighted in special reports and news articles. There is also an undocumented number of smaller bridge fires occurring throughout the United States each year that cause varying degrees of disruption, repair actions, and maintenance cost. These incidents appear to stem primarily from vehicle (often truck) fires, but bridges have also been damaged by fires in adjacent facilities and from other causes. The recent bridge fires in California, Michigan, and New York have highlighted the need to understand the frequency and severity of these incidents as well as to review available information on mitigation strategies, damage assessments, and repair techniques. Research is needed to provide highway bridge owners with mitigation strategies, post event assessments, and repair techniques associated with bridge fires. Such research could lead to American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guidelines for planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and inspecting highway bridges; guidelines for emergency management; and guidelines for a risk-based management approach for bridge safety inspection and maintenance. The objectives of this research are to (1) investigate the susceptibility of highway bridges to fire damage (e.g., by material and design types, geometry, and fire load); (2) develop guidance for damage assessment and repair techniques; and (3) develop guidance for reducing the risk of fire damage. The research should include a comprehensive literature survey and the critical review of standards, technology, and other information. No physical testing is anticipated.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 12-85

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Dekelbab, Waseem

  • Performing Organizations:

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

    208 Patton Hall
    Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061
  • Principal Investigators:

    Wright, William

  • Start Date: 20100603
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20131231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 22355

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01464198
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 12-85
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:38PM