Long-span bridges: analysis of trends using a global database

Colin C. Caprani, James De Maria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Long-span bridges are the pinnacle of human achievement in structural form, linking communities over vast obstacles. It is understood that bridge stocks are ageing, but there is little global oversight. This article presents a publicly accessible global long-span bridge database of 751 long-span bridges, and provides a data analysis to enable the identification of common problems, future needs, and the relationship between the age, design life, and condition status. The database is available online at http://bridges.eng.monash.edu and further submissions can be added. Some key points from the analysis are: (1) the US, China and Norway comprise more than half of the world’s long-span bridges; (2) almost a quarter of the US long-span bridges are beyond the AASHTO 75-year design life; (3) target design lives are not being achieved with only 12% of bridges completing 75 years before major structural rehabilitation; (4) structural health monitoring is mainly implemented for new bridges, in spite of the clear need for older bridges. The global long-span bridge database should contribute to researchers being able to target key problems in the management of these bridges, thereby contributing to the extension of their operational lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-231
Number of pages13
JournalStructure and Infrastructure Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • bridge management
  • database
  • deterioration
  • Long-span bridges
  • maintenance
  • structural health monitoring

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