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Risk research

Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions is to fund a Buro Happold-led consortium to carry out a load management/risk management approach to the assessment of the existing bridge stock.

The project will investigate whether an active load management system is a cost effective alternative to the strengthening or reconstruction of bridges. Buro Happold bridge engineer John Lane will lead the research.

'Research on bridge assessment in the UK has tended to focus on probabilistic risk assessment,' he says. 'PRA focuses on the probabilities of under strength materials and excessive loads. However, failures are more often to do with management deficiencies, human error and other factors not generally included.

'A possible alternative is supplementing PRA with a strategy of load control. Through a technology of measuring actual vehicle wheel loading, vehicle loads may be managed in such a way that the acceptable loading for the bridge is not violated.'

Reader enquiry no 801

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