This report gives an overview of situation on structural, mainly bridge assessment techniques in different European countries. It covers four technical chapters:
a) Survey of the questionnaires,
b) Condition Assessment,
c) Loading, and
d) Structural Safety.
Chapter on the survey of questionnaires summarises answers from six countries, four of which were the New Member States (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia). Chapters of the report summarise information on road system, bridges, culverts, tunnels, retaining walls, traffic loading and structural safety.
The analysis the condition assessment methods used shows that every bridge administrator, in every country, has created or adopted a system for managing bridge stock. All systems have common roots and similar rules. However, the systems are incoherent; they take similar factors under consideration, but present different outcomes.
Truck weights throughout Europe vary considerably. As a result, there are many bridges which can function safely without being strengthened or replaced because the traffic loading is considerably less than in some other countries and regions. Accounting for more realistic traffic loading in bridge assessment can prevent a great deal of unnecessary strengthening and replacements.
Many European countries with a huge stock of highway bridges do not use specific procedures for safety assessment of existing highway bridges, the basis for the assessment is the same as for the design of new bridges. Some other countries, like UK, Denmark, Sweden and Slovenia, but also Canada and USA, do have specific codes or recommendations for safety assessment of bridges, but the procedures used, despite being based on the same principles, vary considerably.