Wananga landing Wananga landing

Rosie Pagel

PHD CANDIDATE | Improving Structural Resilience of Bridges under Tsunami Loading

27 November 2023

Several devastating tsunamis have hit countries around the world in recent times, causing loss of life and extensive economic damage. Low-lying countries such as Indonesia and Hawaii are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a tsunami and sea level rise renders these countries more susceptible to inundation.

In a tsunami, waves propagate inland with enormous force, causing significant damage to coastal infrastructure. Bridges are particularly vulnerable, as waves catch under the deck and large tsunami uplift forces act to push the deck off the bridge piers. These decks wash upstream, leaving the bridge unusable and adjacent communities isolated, with limited access to help. Traditional bridge design generally does not consider large uplift forces acting on the bridge deck, leaving weaknesses in the structure.

Recent research in tsunami design of bridges has focused on understanding the forces acting throughout tsunami inundation and implementing methods of estimating these forces into design codes. To complement this research, Rosie’s PhD aims to develop resilient solutions for bridges prone to tsunami inundation. It will develop a deeper understanding of the specific mechanisms occurring as the bridges fail and investigate a range of solutions to improve bridge performance to ultimately improve the resilience of transport networks.


  • Alessandro Palermo


Start date: 2021

Proposed end date: 2024

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