Calculation of Extreme Wave Loads on Coastal Highway Bridges




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Coastal bridges are exposed to severe wave, current and wind forces during a hurricane. Most coastal bridges are not designed to resist wave loads in such extreme situations, and there are no existing analytical methods to calculate wave loads on coastal highway bridges. This study focuses on developing a new scheme to estimate the extreme wave loads on bridges for designing purpose. In order to do this, a 2D wave velocity potential model (2D Model) is set up for the deterministic analysis of wave force on bridge decks. 2D Model is a linear wave model, which has the capability of calculating wave velocity potential components in time domain based on wave parameters such as wave height, wave period and water depth, and complex structural geometries. 2D Model has Laplace equation as general equation. The free surface boundary, incoming and outgoing wave boundary conditions are linearized, decomposed first, and then solved by the finite difference method. Maximum wave forces results calculated by the linear 2D Model are compared with results from CFD software Flow3D that is using Navier Stokes theory up to the 5th order; and 2D Model is validated by comparing results with experiment data. A case study is conducted for calculating extreme wave forces on I-10 Bridge across Escambia Bay, Florida during Hurricane Ivan in September 2004.SWAN model is adapted to investigate the parameters of wave heights and wave periods around bridge sites. SWAN model has the capability of predicting or hindcasting significant wave heights and wave periods as long as the domain and input parameters are given. The predicted significant wave heights are compared with measurements by Buoy Station 42039 and 42040 nearest to Escambia Bay. A new prediction equation of maximum uplift wave forces on bridge decks is developed in terms of wave height, wave period, water depth, bridge width, water clearance and over top water load. To develop the equations, the relationship is investigated between maximum uplift wave forces and wave parameters, water clearance, green water effects and bridge width. 2D Model is used for up to 1886 cases with difference parameters. Flow3D model is adopted to determine coefficients of water clearance and green water effects, which cannot be calculated by 2D Model.