Toward Fire Resilience in Canadian Bridge Infrastructure
On August 2nd, Entuitive’s alumni Ben Nicoletta presented his research paper on fire resilience in Canadian bridge infrastructure at the 10th International Conference on Short and Medium Span Bridges in Quebec. The paper assesses the state-of-the-art in bridge fire engineering, identifies research needs, and proposes a framework for improving the resilience of critical bridge infrastructure. The abstract of his paper is presented below, with a link to an open-source copy of his paper.
In Canada, bridge fires are becoming a growing concern due to the increasing urbanisation of major cities. Although bridges are designed to provide life safety for a range of extreme loads as prescribed by the relevant codes and standards, the economic losses associated with temporary or permanent critical bridge closure can be enormous and difficult to rationally quantify. The vulnerability of bridges to catastrophic events is amplified by the fact that the infrastructure is aging and provincial budgets can make even basic maintenance a challenge. The economic benefit associated with bridge operation can outweigh the cost of the structure itself and yet many Canadian bridges have not been fully assessed to understand their performance to fire loading, what the post-fire recovery looks like, and how this relates to the overall infrastructure resilience. Many bridges, particularly those made of complex materials and assemblies, may have unique and unidentified vulnerability associated with their operational fire resilience.
This study aims to map the existing bridge fire research projects internationally and orient future research to help improve bridge fire design resilience in Canada. Challenges facing the design of resilient bridge infrastructure and knowledge gaps are presented.