Assessment of highway bridge upgrading by dynamic testing and finite-element model updating

James Mark William Brownjohn, Pilate Moyo, Piotr Omenzetter, Yong Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


The Land Transport Authority of Singapore has a continuing program of highway bridge upgrading for refurbishing and strengthening bridges to allow for increasing vehicle traffic and increasing axle loads. One subject of this program has been a short-span bridge taking a busy main road across a coastal inlet near a major port facility. Experiment-based structural assessments of the bridge were conducted before and after upgrading works including strengthening. Each assessment exercise comprised three separate components: (1) a strain and acceleration monitoring exercise lasting approximately one month; (2) a full-scale dynamic test carried out in a single day without closing the bridge; and (3) a finite-element model updating exercise to identify structural parameters and mechanisms. This paper presents the dynamic testing and the modal analysis used to identify the vibration properties and the quantification of the effectiveness of the upgrading through the subsequent model updating. Before and after upgrade, similar sets of vibration modes were identified, resembling those of an orthotropic plate with relatively weak transverse bending stiffness. Conversion of bearings from nominal simple supports to nominal full fixity was shown via model updating to be the principal cause of natural frequency increases of up to 50%. The utility of the combined experimental and analytical process in direct identification of structural properties has been proven, and the procedure can be applied to other structures and their capacity assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-172
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Bridge Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2003


  • finite element analysis
  • civil engineering computing
  • dynamic testing
  • road traffic
  • structural engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of highway bridge upgrading by dynamic testing and finite-element model updating'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this