HURRICANE INDUCED WAVE AND SURGE FORCES ON BRIDGE DECKS
McPherson, Ronald L.
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The damaging effects of hurricane landfall on US coastal bridges have been studied using physical model testing. Hurricane bridge damage and failure susceptibility has become very evident, especially during hurricane seasons 2004 and 2005 in the Gulf of Mexico. The combination of storm surge and high waves caused by a hurricane can produce substantial loads on bridge decks leading to complete bridge failure. Several theoretical methods have been developed to estimate these forces but have not been tested in a laboratory setting for a typical bridge section. Experiments were done using a large-scale 3-D wave basin located at the Haynes Coastal Engineering Laboratory at Texas A&M University to provide estimates of the horizontal and vertical forces for several conditions to compare with the forces predicted with the existing models. The wave force results show no strong correlation between the actual force measured and the predicted force of existing theoretical methods. A new method is derived from the existing theoretical methods. This model shows a strong correlation with both the measured horizontal and vertical forces.