Reasons for Mid-Span Failure of Pile Supported Bridges in Case of Subsurface Liquefaction

  • P. MohantyEmail author
  • S. Bhattacharya
Conference paper
Part of the Sustainable Civil Infrastructures book series (SUCI)


The collapse of pile supported bridges in case of liquefied soil still continue to happen in the event of an earthquake. One of the recurrent observations in such failures is the mid span collapse of bridges with decks falling into the river while the piers close to the abutment and the abutment itself remain stable. Therefore, the present paper proposes a plausible failure mechanism for such mid-span collapse of pile supported bridges. It has been found that as the soil liquefies, the overall natural period of vibration of the piers increases as compared to that of before liquefaction. Subsequently, the lateral displacement demand on the pile head increases with the advent of liquefaction. Lastly, a quantitative analysis for the bridge failure has been carried out for the Showa Bridge (Niigata Earthquake 1964) and the Panshan Bridge (Haicheng Earthquake 1975). It has been observed that the displacement demand on the middle piers of these bridges increased by more than 100%, which led to its collapse, whereas the displacement demand on the other piers increased only by near around 50%. Therefore, the study suggests that the foundation of the middle piers of the bridges need to be additionally stiffened to restrict the increase in their natural period and to avoid its implications.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SurreyGuildfordUK
  2. 2.GeomechanicsUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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