The structural performance of old stone-masonry bridges is examined by studying such structures located at the North-West of Greece, declared cultural heritage structures. A discussion of their structural system is included, which is linked with specific construction details. The dynamic characteristics of four stone bridges, obtained by temporary in situ instrumentation, are presented together with the mechanical properties of their masonry constituents. The basic assumptions of relatively simple three-dimensional (3-D) numerical simulations of the dynamic response of such old stone bridges are discussed based on all selected information. The results of these numerical simulations are presented and compared with the measured response obtained from the in situ experimental campaigns. The seismic response of one such bridge is studied subsequently in some detail as predicted from the linear numerical simulations under combined dead load and seismic action. The performance of the same bridge is also examined applying 3-D non-linear numerical simulations with the results used to discuss the structural performance of stone-masonry bridges that either collapsed or may be vulnerable to future structural failure. Issues that influence the structural integrity of such bridges are discussed combined with the results of the numerical and in situ investigation. Finally, a brief discussion of maintenance issues is also presented.
Part of the book: Structural Bridge Engineering