Analysis of Peak Flow Distribution for Bridge Collapse Sites
Ashraf, Fahmidah U.
Flint, Madeleine M.
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Bridge collapse risk can be evaluated more rigorously if the hydrologic characteristics of bridge collapse sites are demystified, particularly for peak flows. In this study, forty-two bridge collapse sites were analyzed to find any trend in the peak flows. Flood frequency and other statistical analyses were used to derive peak flow distribution parameters, identify trends linked to flood magnitude and flood behavior (how extreme), quantify the return periods of peak flows, and compare different approaches of flood frequency in deriving the return periods. The results indicate that most of the bridge collapse sites exhibit heavy tail distribution and flood magnitudes that are well consistent when regressed over the drainage area. A comparison of different flood frequency analyses reveals that there is no single approach that is best generally for the dataset studied. These results indicate a commonality in flood behavior (outliers are expected, not random; heavy-tail property) for the collapse dataset studied and provides some basis for extending the findings obtained for the 42 collapsed bridges to other sites to assess the risk of future collapses.