Department of

Civil and Environmental Engineering



Kavanagh Lecture - Abstract

April 6, 1994

New Approaches for Highway Bridge Safety


Dr. Fred Moses
Professor and Chair
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Pittsburgh


In the last few years the nation has become painfully aware of the implications of a deteriorating infrastructure. Highway bridges are an important element of this infrastructure and their performance affects both safety and economical well-being. Currently, there are over 150,000 bridges in the United States which are deficient and require major structural modifications to remain in service or else must be replaced. Similar infrastructure deficiencies exist in all the developed countries as well as in the emerging countries of Eastern Europe. This paper describes recent techniques which can assist engineers in making more rational safety-related decisions for highway structures. These methods concern new design and evaluation procedures which recognize the inherent statistical properties of variables affecting bridge safety as well as the considerable reserve strength capacity in many structures. Applications of analytical methods and test procedures, as well as safety concepts, are described.