Effect Of Floods And Obsolescence On Bridge Life

by Manuel A. Benson,
N. C. Matalas,

Serial Information: Journal of the Highway Division, 1965, Vol. 91, Issue 1, Pg. 55-68

Document Type: Journal Paper


The economics of the design of a bridge waterway opening is usually related to the return period of the design flood. A factor not usually considered in determining the frequency of replacement of a bridge is the effect of obsolescence which has a probability distribution just as floods do. A general formula is developed for a step function that defines the average replacement period where each year there is a constant probability of replacement because of destruction by flooding and a variable probability of replacement because of obsolescence. Examples are given for simple conditions. It is shown that obsolescence may have a large effect on increasing the frequency of replacement and hence on planning for future financing of bridges.

Subject Headings: Bridge design | Flood frequency | Probability | Floods | Lifeline systems | Hydraulic design | Bridges | Economic factors

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