Invited perspectives: challenges and future directions in improving bridge flood resilience

Enrico Tubaldi*, Christopher J. White, Edoardo Patelli, Stergios Mitoulis, Gustavo De almeida, Jim Brown, Michael Cranston, Martin Hardman, Eftychia Koursari, Rob Lamb, Hazel Mcdonald, Richard Mathews, Richard Newell, Alonso Pizarro, Marta Roca, Daniele Zonta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


Abstract. Bridges are critical infrastructure components of road and rail transport networks. A large number of these critical assets cross or are adjacent to waterways and floodplains and are therefore exposed to flood actions such as scour, hydrodynamic loading and inundation, all of which are exacerbated by debris accumulations. These stressors are widely recognised as responsible for the vast majority of bridge failures around the world. While efforts have been made to increase the robustness of bridges to the flood hazard, many scientific and technical gaps remain. These gaps were explored during an expert workshop that took place in April 2021 with the participation of academics, consultants and decision makers operating in the United Kingdom and specialised in the fields of bridge risk assessment and management and floods. In particular, the following issues, established at different levels and scales of bridge flood resilience, were analysed: (i) characterization of the effects of floods on different bridge typologies, (ii) inaccuracy of formulae for scour depth assessment, (iii) evaluation of consequences of damage, (iv) recovery process after flood damage, (v) decision-making under uncertainty, and (vi) use of event forecasting and monitoring data for increasing the reliability of bridge flood risk estimations. These issues are discussed in this paper to inform other researchers and stakeholders worldwide, guide the directions of future research in the field, and influence policies for risk mitigation and rapid response to flood warnings, ultimately increasing bridge resilience.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Geosciences Union
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2021


  • Flood risk
  • bridges
  • resilience
  • decision-making
  • scour
  • vulnerability
  • monitoring
  • forecasting


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