Environmental contours for wind-resistant bridge design in complex terrain
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics. 2022, 224 . 10.1016/j.jweia.2022.104943
Accurate estimation of the extreme wind fields is crucial for long-span bridge design. The current practice is focused on estimating the extreme mean wind speed, neglecting the inherent uncertainty in the turbulence model parameters. However, full-scale measurements on bridges show that such uncertainties are significant and should be considered in design. Here, the environmental contour method (ECM) is used to obtain long-term extreme wind fields considering uncertainties from the mean wind speed, turbulence intensities and spectral parameters measured at the Sulafjord Bridge site. Design contours of combinations of wind field parameters are obtained for target return periods of 4, 50 and 100 years. The contours are based on a proposed probabilistic modeling strategy that combines hindcast mesoscale simulations and field measurements. The contour estimates are also compared with state-of-the-art design values from the design recommendations. It is concluded that the environmental contours provide a more complete and yet intuitive description of the wind field at the bridge site compared to the current design methodology. The ECM is found suitable for obtaining design wind fields at new long-span bridge sites as it makes use of the limited site data more efficiently and it is still easy-to-use for the practicing engineer.