Date of Award

Winter 2016

Project Type


Program or Major

Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Erin S Bell

Second Advisor

Ricardo A Medina

Third Advisor

Raymond A Cook


Movable bridges play an integral role in modern transportation infrastructure. As means of passage for both vehicular and naval traffic at a single location, their reliable performance is a necessity. However, with the thousands of movable bridges in the US – which are typically located in coastal environments that are typically highly susceptible to extreme weather events – there are few objective protocols defining the environmental conditions in which they can be safely operated. In order to define such conditions, wind speed and temperature variable wind loads were developed using multiple, structural load development codes for a case study site: the Memorial Bridge in Portsmouth, NH. These loads were developed, examined, and combined to create hybrid load cases for input and analysis in SAP2000® to determine structural response levels in the bridge members. The results from SAP2000® were used to predict the demands the Memorial Bridge will experience in both its lifted and un-lifted positions in variable environmental conditions, such that the viability of a lift can be more objectively defined. These results were compiled in conjunction with bridge’s aerodynamic susceptibility and an investigation of the dynamics of the bridge’s counterweight system, both of which were found to be of minimal concern in terms of bridge structural safety. Following the future integration of structural health monitoring (SHM) and weather data acquisition systems at the case study site, the protocol will be refined and expanded to more accurately predict safe lifting conditions.