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Fundamentals of Sustainable and Resilient Buried Structures


This paper’s objective is to introduce a design approach which improves the performance and value of buried structures. This approach involves widening the design lens to more systematically consider sustainable and resilience aspects.
Owners desire sustainable transportation networks which regenerate the environment, support society, and minimize financial cost. For a transportation network to be sustainable it needs to meet the needs of current and future generations in terms economic vitality, social equity, and a healthy environment (Transportation Research Board, 2017). A sustainable transportation network is resilient and can adapt or accommodate unexpected events with minimal disruption to society (Transportation Research Board, 2017). Transportation networks lacking resilience experience disruptions, resulting in large repair costs, negative costs to the economy from disrupted travel, and expose the public to safety hazards. Agencies need resiliency to address climate change impacts on transportation systems within the context of their available resources Buried structures, commonly referred to as buried bridges, culverts, or soil-metal structures, are
structures which derive their support from composite interaction between the structure and surrounding soil. Buried structures have spans up to 40 m and are found across Canada. Buried structures have several accelerated bridge construction benefits such as an ability to be rapidly constructed, and installed costs which are typically 33% to 67% lower than traditional beam bridges (AFS40, 2013).This paper will provide insight into where buried structures provide value compared to traditional beam bridges, and practical approaches which increase the likelihood of a buried structure design that:
• Is better able to withstand the test of time and unexpected events;
• Minimizes financial resources;
• Minimizes disruption and in some instances, regenerate society and the natural environment.

Keywords: Buried structures, buried bridges, resilience, climate change, extreme hydraulic events, scour, piping, washout, CHBDC.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Climate - How is Your Jurisdiction/Organization Responding
Williams, K.
Climate change