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Research and Development (R&D) Project Sites

Project Information
Project ID:   FHWA-PROJ-10-0032
Project Name:   Steel Suspension Bridge Vulnerability and Countermeasures
Project Status:   Active
Start Date:  July 12, 2010
End Date:  July 12, 2015
Contact Information
Last Name:  Munley
First Name:  Eric P
Telephone:  202-493-3046
E-mail:  eric.munley@dot.gov
Office:   Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Team:   Hazard Mitigation Team [HRDI-50]
Program:   Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
Laboratory:   Structures Laboratory
Project detail
Roadmap/Focus area(s):   Infrastructure Research and Technology Strategic Plan and Roadmap
Project Description:   This is a cooperative effort between the Federal Highway Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Army Corps of Engineers. The study consists of the physical testing of steel suspension bridge elements – constructed for the test program, or obtained from structures in the field – subjected to several types of simulated attack loadings. Two important element of this program are to:  (1) Calibrate the vulnerability of older, partially deteriorated materials compared to modern materials. (2) Determine, in detail, material and design variations that have the greatest effects on countermeasure performance. Both will influence the continuing improvement of mitigation measures in this and in related studies.
The key project objectives are:
(1) Calibrate for variations in component materials analytical predictions of bridge component behavior under attack loadings.
(2) Calibrate the predicted performance of currently used mitigation measures under these bridge material variations.
(3) Test and evaluate mitigation materials and retrofit hardware now under development.
Test Methodology:   Physical testing consists of explosive/cutting tests and analytical studies on large- to full-scale steel suspension bridge elements, their connections, and where practical, assembled groups of bridge elements. Attack methods include the use of standoff charges (e.g. vehicle bombs), hand-emplaced charges, and mechanical cutting.
Expected Benefits:   The expected benefit is that American bridges will be able to survive a terrorist attack.
FHWA Topics:   Research/Technologies--Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC)
TRT Terms:   Hazard Mitigation
Suspension Bridges
Steel Bridges
FHWA Disciplines:   Structures
Subject Areas:   Security and Emergencies
Bridges and other structures


Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101