PI: Daniel Armanios, Engineering and Public Policy
Co-PI(s): Burcu Akinci, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Sean Qian, Civil and Environmental Engineering

America’s bridge infrastructure systems face two concurrent largescale challenges: (1) aging and continuously deteriorating infrastructure; and (2) limited funding availability to update these infrastructure systems due to budgetary constraints. Moreover, many of these bridges reflect old design standards and often did not anticipate the drastic technological advancements in our transportation system. In particular, bridge clearances for many of our oldest bridges do not adequately accommodate large commercial and mass transportation vehicles. As such, these bridges present both technical challenges as well as social costs of keeping the status quo due to connectivity and rerouting issues within the communities around them. Our aim is to develop a holistic decision making framework to help policymakers and bridge engineers around which bridges to lift in ways that are more technically reliable and economic feasible, while also mitigating the shortterm and longterm socials costs involved with such bridges.

We propose a threepronged approach that incorporates three factors: 1) technical and economic costs associated with different design and construction alternatives; 2) shortterm inconvenience costs due to rerouting and congestion due to the bridge lifting process; 3) longterm community opportunity costs due to reduced mobility and connectivity as well as heightened congestion the longer bridge remains not lifted. We then incorporate these three costs into a decisionmaking model and evaluate this model with existing approaches to ascertain the accuracy, efficiency, and reliability of our novel framework. Our strong collaboration with PennDOT will enable us to have access to an unprecedented amount of data which will help us characterize different aspects of this problem and assess the applicability of our framework to the practices in all of its twelve districts. Close interactions with PennDOT will allow us keep our work grounded and at the same time transfer the knowledge that will be generated seamlessly to the current practices.