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Evaluating Fire Damaged Components of Historic Covered Bridges, Post-Fire Assessment Guidelines and Techniques

Started: August, 2012 Ended: April, 2013 Project ID #4W4300 Status: Completed


The objectives of this research were to survey existing approaches to post-fire evaluations based on their relevance to historic covered timber bridges; customize a non-destructive technique for determining the residual capacity of individual, fire-damaged, glued laminated beams; and produce a “how-to” guide comprised of guidelines and techniques for conducting post-fire evaluations.


Arson continues to claim many historic covered bridges. The FHWA Covered Bridge Manual provides excellent comprehensive support to those involved with assessing, maintaining, and rehabilitating covered bridges. This resource states that site specific (post-fire) evaluations are necessary in a fire’s aftermath; however, additional guidance is absent. In particular, decisions whether individual wood components can be rehabilitated, reconstructed or replaced must be made. Recognizing the need for additional information on this topic, the goal of this research is to complement and enhance the Covered Bridge Manual’s current coverage of post-fire evaluations, and to adapt a direct test to estimate the residual load bearing capacity of individual framing members. The project scope includes an evaluation of existing methodologies and techniques and the customized application of a non-destructive technique – all of which can be employed during site specific, post-fire evaluations of historic covered bridges. WTI conducted selected tasks on this project through a sub-contract with the project lead at Montana Tech/University of Montana.


Sponsors & Partners

  • Montana Tech, University of Montana Sponsor

Part of: Infrastructure Maintenance and Materials, Infrastructure Longevity and Sustainability

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