Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
In the news:
Christopher Eamon is currently working on two research projects sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
Developing Representative Michigan Truck Configurations for Bridge Load Rating.
To ensure that bridge structures have adequate levels of safety, MDOT periodically rates bridges for the expected legal and permit loads that may cross the structures. Bridges that are found deficient are restricted from carrying excessively heavy vehicles, or ‘posted’. Currently, the analysis loads used for rating are based on vehicle configurations established several decades ago. Although currently legal, such configurations may no longer well-represent modern truck loads and geometries. The purpose of this project is to update, as needed, the load rating models used in Michigan. In part, new models will be based on a thorough analysis of recent Michigan Weigh-in-Motion (WIM) data, where hundreds of millions of truck axle weight and configuration information has been recorded from various high-fidelity WIM stations throughout the State.Such data will be used to develop an optimal set of notional rating vehicles that can accurately account for the effects of single vehicle passage as well as the additional load effects caused by combinations of vehicles traveling over Michigan’s bridge structures.
Evaluation of Cost/Benefits of Standardization of Secondary Route Bridges.
Approximately 7000 Michigan roadway bridges owned by local agencies such as counties and cities. Of these, about 60% are on low volume roads of less than 1000 AADT and are single spans less than 50 ft long. Over half of local agency bridges have been built prior to 1980, while one-fourth have been built prior to 1960. Moreover, 17% have major components rated less than satisfactory, and in the near future, many may require replacement. Given this concern, Christopher Eamon is working with MDOT to develop standard bridge plans suitable for local agency use. The purpose of the plans is to facilitate construction of suitable new structures. The designs are to specifically address common local agency road, span, and site conditions. Ideally, the structures will have low initial and long term costs, and are readily constructible using resources available to local agencies. A main component of the project is the development of a probabilistic life cycle cost analysis (LCCA) model that accounts for the uncertainties in bridge construction, maintenance, and user costs. Results of the analysis will be used to guide development of optimal bridges that result in minimal long-term costs while maintaining desired levels of performance throughout the lifetime of the structures.