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Hazard scenarios for avalanche actions on bridges

  • Stefan Margreth (a1) and Walter J. Ammann (a1)

Abstract

Engineers require impact scenarios when developing hazard mitigation strategies to protect structures against snow avalanches. Since direct measurements of avalanche impacts on large obstacles are rare, the documentation and post-event analysis of avalanche damages is essential to understand the interaction of avalanches with obstacles. The objective of this paper is to develop hazard scenarios for avalanche actions on bridges, based on a case study of a well-documented avalanche event. The 40 m long pre-stressed road bridge Ri di Rialp in the Swiss Alps collapsed after being struck by a dense-flow avalanche in 1998. The post-event analysis shows that the controlling hazard scenario was an inclined avalanche impact, not a horizontal impact as one would assume given the topographical situation. Using a failure analysis, an impact angle of 40° and a minimal impact pressure of 172 kN m−2 were found. Finally the insights are summarized so that engineers can apply the results when designing a bridge at risk from avalanches.

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Copyright

References

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