Rocking Steel Bridge Pier



Performance Based Seismic Design of Controlled Rocking Steel Bridge Piers

More than 40% of Canadian civil infrastructure has passed its service life, and the municipal infrastructure deficit has grown from $123B in 2007 to $141B today, and increases at a rate of $2B annually (CIRC 2016). The Canadian Infrastructure Report Card (2016) emphasized that if immediate measures are not taken to revamp the infrastructure, the cost of replacement may increase manifold. Such deficient infrastructure also poses a serious threat to the public during disasters like earthquakes. A recent study conducted by the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimated the overall loss after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake in British Columbia at almost $75B and a $61B loss after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in the Quebec City-Montreal-Ottawa corridor (IBC 2013), which clearly reflects the vulnerability of Canadian civil infrastructure. In order to avoid such scenarios in Canada, and in other earthquake prone regions across the world, it is imperative to take immediate measures. This project aims at introducing a novel and cost-effective rocking steel bridge pier with improved seismic performance. Previous research has shown that permanent residual displacements and global or local bucking are major drawbacks of conventional steel piers. The proposed research will introduce prefabricated post-tensioned steel bridge pier that will not only enable structures to be built faster but also help structures self-center after major earthquakes. Such structures will be immediately serviceable and will not require major repairing.

Project Team:

  1. M. Shahria Alam (UBC)
  2. Robert Tremblay (Polytechnique Montreal)
  3. Ahmad Rahmzadeh
  4. Kamrul Islam
  5. Julie Liu
  6. Faroque Hossain


  1. Rahmzadeh, A., Alam, M. S., and Tremblay, R. (2018). “Analytical Prediction and Finite Element Simulation of the Lateral Response of Rocking Steel Bridge Piers with Energy-Dissipating Steel Bars.” Journal of Structural Engineering, 144(11), 04018210,
  2. Rahmzadeh, A., Alam, M.S., and Tremblay, R. (2018). “Finite Element Development of Controlled Rocking Steel Bridge Piers.” Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Short and Medium Span Bridges, Quebec City, July – August 2018.

Annual Meeting with Industrial Partners: