Tuesday 29 October 2019

3rd UIC Workshop On Masonry Arch Bridges held in Pécs, Hungary

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UIC held workshops on masonry arch bridges in Madrid and Bristol in 2018. The third such workshop was held in October in Pécs, Hungary, in collaboration with the University of Pécs. The university organised a MIK Partners’ Day to coincide with the workshop. This sustainability conference aligned perfectly with the UIC workshop. Workshop participants also had the opportunity to attend the conference session on “Structures and Sustainability”, which featured lectures on optimisation-driven conceptual design of structures, retrofitting of existing structures and innovative solutions for preservation.

During the masonry workshop, the relevant results of the UIC Masonry Arch Bridge projects conducted between 2004 to 2015 were presented. These results are documented in IRS 70778-3, published in March 2018. The topics presented offer significant value for bridge engineers and asset managers as they concern assessment methods and monitoring techniques, application of innovative technologies and methods to extend the asset life cycle. Knowledge on masonry bridge behaviour is rare and valuable, given that there are only a few experts involved in research and development in this field.

UIC once again brought together a number of experienced and passionate experts for the workshop. These included Dr Zoltán Orbán, Prof. William Harvey, Prof. Matthew Gilbert, Dr José Antonio Martín-Caro and Dr Antonio Brencich.

After opening the conference and welcoming the participants, an overview of UIC’s role and responsibilities was provided so as to inform the audience about the organisation and its activities.

Following a general overview of the UIC Masonry Arch Bridge projects and the resulting IRS 70778-3 “Recommendations for the inspection, assessment and maintenance of masonry arch bridges”, three sets of technical presentations were delivered. The first focused on “General principles of structural behaviour” and the second dealt with “Deterioration, inspection, monitoring”. The session was closed with a presentation on “Assessment”. The following day, on 18 October, the morning session began with a presentation on “Serviceability, permissible load, life expectancy”, followed by another on “Repair, strengthening, extension of service life”. The session was closed with a presentation on “Case studies & further research”, after which the enthusiastic audience had the opportunity to continue discussions with the masonry experts.

The workshop once again highlighted the fact that masonry arch bridges behave very differently to steel and concrete bridges, but are resilient and robust structures. Thus, they can remain in service for a very long time, while incurring low maintenance costs, if treated in an appropriate way. Expertise on design, construction and maintenance of these bridges must be guarded carefully, not only to protect existing bridges but also in order to construct new masonry arch bridges.

With its IRS 70778-3, as well as dedicated workshops and video recordings from its Bristol workshop, UIC plays an important role in preserving this expertise and conveying it to bridge engineers and asset managers.

Link to video recordings from the second MAB workshop in 2018:

For further information please contact Harald Sattler, UIC Senior Advisor for Infrastructure:


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From left to right: Matthew Gilbert, Harald Sattler, José Martín-Caro, Zoltán Orbán, Antonio Brencich, Bill Harvey
Q&A Session