Many existing codes of practice for masonry arch bridge assessment fail to provide engineers with adequate guidance on the adverse effects that saturated environmental or flood conditions are likely to have on load-carrying capacity. Analysis indicates that the load-carrying capacity of a fully flooded arch bridge backfilled with cohesionless fill could typically be reduced by a factor of 1$6–1$8, or even more in specific circumstances. The significant influence of flooding on load-carrying capacity has now been verified using small-scale experiments which are described in the paper. The effects offlooding onwaterproofed and unwaterproofed bridges are also analysed numerically and the circumstances under which capacity reductions are likely to be highest are identified. This paper should be useful to engineers dealing with bridges which are at risk of flooding.
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