Assessment of masonry arches subject to flooding

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Civil Engineering and Geosciences


The UK transport network is under an imminent threat; namely that of its aging masonry bridge stock. Apart from many issues such as being overloaded, the evermore increasing probability of flooding is in need of investigation. Masonry arches have proved highly resilient parts of modern infrastructure with their prolonged life proof of this. Consequently, further enlightening such as the above issues facilitates protecting them with immense financial, aesthetical and practical benefits.

This research aims to develop an optimization between structural health monitoring and existent practical experience in the field of masonry arches and flooding. Thus one can be able to face different challenges and achieve multiple objectives, such as the identification of optimal monitoring devices, the safest location for these, accurate prediction of serviceability of the structure and costs optimization.

Concerning the types of flooding involved, the work will be focused on fluvial floods as masonry bridges are usually river crossings and as a consequence effected by river flooding. Pluvial floods, instead, will not be taken into account in a primary stage of the research, but they will not be entirely neglected.
Several issues will be considered in the modelling, some of which are: the identification of different failure modes due to different loading nature of floods, material behaviour alterations, vulnerable areas and geometries of existent bridges, the implementation of temporary defences, the best choice of different kinds of temporary defences.

Concerning case studies, it is planned to contact local authorities and bridge owners. Thus starting from a regional scale, one could possibly test the ability of the implemented systems. A good starting point could be identified in the region of Cumbria and in specific Carlisle which due to the existence of multiple watercourses and drainage systems there are several high-risk areas of masonry arches being flooding. The annual disruption of rail and road connection being a testament to this.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509528/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1796582 Studentship EP/N509528/1 26/09/2016 30/09/2020 Nicko Kassotakis