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Invited perspectives: Challenges and future directions in improving bridge flood resilience

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Enrico Tubaldi
  • Christopher J. White
  • E. Patelli
  • Stergios Aristoteles Mitoulis
  • Gustavo de Almeida
  • Jim Brown
  • Michael Cranston
  • Martin Hardman
  • Eftychia Koursari
  • Rob Lamb
  • Hazel McDonald
  • R. Mathews
  • Richard Newell
  • Alonso Pizarro
  • Marta Roca
  • Daniele Zonta
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/03/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number3
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)795-812
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Bridges are critical-infrastructure components of road and rail transport networks. A large number of these critical assets cross or are adjacent to waterways and floodplains and are therefore exposed to flood actions such as scour, hydrodynamic loading, and inundation, all of which are exacerbated by debris accumulations. These stressors are widely recognized as responsible for the vast majority of bridge failures around the world, and they are expected to be exacerbated due to climate change. While efforts have been made to increase the robustness of bridges to the flood hazard, many scientific and technical gaps remain. These gaps were explored during an expert workshop that took place in April 2021 with the participation of academics, consultants, and decision makers operating mainly in the United Kingdom and specializing in the fields of bridge risk assessment and management and flood resilience. The objective of the workshop was to identify and prioritize the most urgent and significant impediments to bridge flood resilience. In particular, the following issues, established at different levels and scales of bridge flood resilience, were identified and analysed in depth: (i) characterization of the effects of floods on different bridge typologies, (ii) uncertainties in formulae for scour depth assessment, (iii) evaluation of consequences of damage, (iv) recovery process after flood damage, (v) decision-making under uncertainty for flood-critical bridges, and (vi) use of event forecasting and monitoring data for increasing the reliability of bridge flood risk estimations. These issues are discussed in this paper to inform other researchers and stakeholders worldwide, guide the directions of future research in the field, and influence policies for risk mitigation and rapid response to flood warnings, ultimately increasing bridge resilience.