Extrapolation of extreme traffic load effects on bridges based on long-term SHM data

Y. X. Xia, Yiqing Ni

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In the design and condition assessment of bridges, it is usually necessary to take into consideration the extreme conditions which are not expected to occur within a short time period and thus require an extrapolation from observations of limited duration. Long-term structural health monitoring (SHM) provides a rich database to evaluate the extreme conditions. This paper focuses on the extrapolation of extreme traffic load effects on bridges using long-term monitoring data of structural strain. The suspension Tsing Ma Bridge (TMB), which carries both highway and railway traffic and is instrumented with a long-term SHM system, is taken as a testbed for the present study. Two popular extreme value extrapolation methods: the block maxima approach and the peaks-over-threshold approach, are employed to extrapolate the extreme stresses induced by highway traffic and railway traffic, respectively. Characteristic values of the extreme stresses with a return period of 120 years (the design life of the bridge) obtained by the two methods are compared. It is found that the extrapolated extreme stresses are robust to the extrapolation technique. It may owe to the richness and good quality of the long-term strain data acquired. These characteristic extremes are also compared with the design values and found to be much smaller than the design values, indicating conservative design values of traffic loading and a safe traffic-loading condition of the bridge. The results of this study can be used as a reference for the design and condition assessment of similar bridges carrying heavy traffic, analogous to the TMB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1015
Number of pages21
JournalSmart Structures and Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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