PI: Dan M. Frangopol
University: Lehigh University
Life-cycle performance, safety, reliability, and risk of civil infrastructure systems have become emergent issues in recent years owing to the infrastructure crisis and sustainability issues. Management of aging civil infrastructure, such as highway bridges, involves significant expenditures, and at a time of constrained public resources, requires difficult decisions to establish priorities for maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement. Dealing with uncertainties is an inevitable part of the management process. Decisions regarding requirements for design, continued service, rehabilitation, or replacement must balance conflicting requirements, such as cost and performance. This can only be achieved through proper integrated optimal risk management planning in a life-cycle comprehensive framework. The ideal time to consider life-cycle costs is during the design phase of a project, when multiple factors, for example, the materials chosen, can have a pronounced effect on how a structure performs over its service life. Accordingly, in this research, an integrated optimal risk management planning in a life-cycle context is proposed for steel bridges constructed with conventional carbon steel or maintenance-free steel.
Outcomes of this project on life-cycle optimal risk-based management where consequences of non-satisfactory performance are considered include:

  1. integrate the effects of risk into life-cycle management activities of steel bridges including design, maintenance and repair
  2. analyze the effects of risk on life-cycle performance of steel bridges with and without corrosion resistant steel
  3. quantify the life-cycle savings obtained by the adoption of maintenance-free steel
These outcomes are relevant to the nation’s steel bridges, and should provide economic and social benefits to Pennsylvania where steel bridges represent the majority of the total number of highway bridges. Companies such as ArcelorMittal will benefit from this project by using a novel model that includes a life-cycle risk-based management approach to assess the true life-cycle costs of maintenance-free steel bridges.