Seismic Performance of Stone Masonry and Unreinforced Concrete Railroad Bridge Substructures

Masonry railroad bridge piers were widely used in early 1900. The use of concrete for bridge piers commenced in the 1920’s. 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.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:



    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Principal Investigators:

      Ma, Zhongguo

    • Start Date: 20140801
    • Expected Completion Date: 20180815
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01590368
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: National University Rail Center (NURail)
    • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC52, NURail2014-UTK-R10
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: Feb 10 2016 10:33AM