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Structural Engineering and Mechanics
  Volume 53, Number 1, January10 2015, pages 89-104

A new look at the restrictions on the speed and magnitude of train loads for bridge management
Mehran Aflatooni, Tommy H.T. Chan and David P. Thambiratnam

    In current bridge management systems (BMSs), load and speed restrictions are applied on unhealthy bridges to keep the structure safe and serviceable for as long as possible. But the question is, whether applying these restrictions will always decrease the internal forces in critical components of the bridge and enhance the safety of the unhealthy bridges. To find the answer, this paper for the first time in literature, looks into the design aspects through studying the changes in demand by capacity ratios of the critical components of a bridge under the train loads. For this purpose, a structural model of a simply supported bridge, whose dynamic behaviour is similar to a group of real railway bridges, is developed. Demand by capacity ratios of the critical components of the bridge are calculated, to identify their sensitivity to increase of speed and magnitude of live load. The outcomes of this study are very significant as they show that, on the contrary to what is expected, by applying restriction on speed, the demand by capacity ratio of components may increase and make the bridge unsafe for carrying live load. Suggestions are made to solve the problem.
Key Words
    rating bridges; train loads; axle spacing; criticality; speed restriction; bridge management
Mehran Aflatooni, Tommy H.T. Chan and David P. Thambiratnam: School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, 2 George St., Brisbane, Queensland 4001, Australia

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