American Society of Civil Engineers

Performance of a Damage-Protected Highway Bridge Pier Subjected to Bidirectional Earthquake Attack

by K. Solberg, (Formerly, Grad. Res. Asst., Univ. of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand), N. Mashiko, (Formerly, Graduate Student, Univ. of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand), J. B. Mander, (Zachry Prof. I, Zachry Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX 77843), and R. P. Dhakal, (Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand)

Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol. 135, No. 5, May 2009, pp. 469-478, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Special Issue: Seismic Effects
Abstract: Recent earthquakes such as Loma Prieta, Northridge, and Kobe have demonstrated a need for a new design philosophy of bridge piers that avoids damage in order to ensure postearthquake serviceability and reduce financial loss. Damage avoidance design (DAD) is one such emerging philosophy that meets these objectives. DAD details require armoring of the joints; this eliminates the formation of plastic hinges. Seismic input energy is dissipated by rocking coupled with supplemental energy dissipation devices. In this paper the theoretical performance of a DAD bridge pier is validated through bidirectional quasi-static and pseudodynamic tests performed on a 30% scale specimen. The DAD pier is designed to rock on steel — steel armored interfaces. Tension-only energy dissipaters are used to increase tie down forces and further reduce dynamic response. The seismic performance of the DAD pier is compared to that of a conventional ductile pier. Results show that one can have 90% confidence that the DAD pier will survive a design basis earthquake without sustaining any damage, whereas for the conventional design substantial damage is sustained.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Bridge abutments
Highway bridges
Post tensioning
Precast concrete