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Washington State University National Center for Transportation Infrastructure Durability & Life-Extension (TriDurLE)


Post-Earthquake Serviceability of RC Bridge Bents Using Visual Inspection


Dr. Mostafa Tazarv
South Dakota State University


Modern seismic design codes ensure a large displacement capacity and prevent total collapse for bridges. However, this performance objective is usually attained at the cost of damage to target ductile members. For reinforced concrete bridges, the columns are usually the main source of ductility during an earthquake in which concrete cover, core, and reinforcement may damage, and the column may experience a large permanent lateral deformation. A significant number of the US bridges will experience large earthquakes in the next 50 years that may result in the bridge closure due to excessive damage. A quick assessment of bridges immediately after severe events is needed to maximize serviceability and access to the affected sites, and to minimize casualties and costs. The main goal of this proposal, which is the first phase of a multi-phase project, is to accelerate post-earthquake bridge inspection using “computer vision”. Instead of sending trained personnel to the affect bridges, a drone can be used as a fast inspection device. If the drone is equipped with an image processor, which can relate bridge apparent damages to seismic demands, it will be feasible to quickly assess the post-event serviceability of the bridge and to tag the structure (to be opened, closed, or have limited access). Such assessment will save lives and costs since the bridge serviceability will be known to the public and emergency responders. The main product in this phase of the project will be an open-source computer program that can assess bridge bent damage, determine the bridge demand using post-earthquake conditions, and tag a bridge. In the second phase of the project, the software will be implemented in drones and/or mobile applications. Subsequently, other bridge types or elements may be considered for damage assessment in the following phases.

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Dr. Mostafa Tazarv