Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2008
Joint report prepared under the JRC-ECCS cooperation agreement for the evolution of Eurocode 3.
Due to the demand for freight volume on rail and road, traffic has increased significantly in the past years leading to increasing number of heavy vehicles in the traffic flows and greater exploitation of their loading capacities. Because of environmental considerations there is also a tendency to further enhance the admissible loads in the design of new heavy vehicles (e.g. by increasing axle loads or using road trains). This all may affect the safety, serviceability and durability of existing bridges.
Bridge authorities are therefore interested in agreed methods to assess the safety and durability of existing bridges and to make appropriate provisions for more refined maintenance methods, possible restriction of traffic, bridge-rehabilitation or substitution of old bridges by new ones where necessary. For steel bridges including the old riveted ones there are numerous approaches to such assessments, partly standardized by national codes or recommendations. In the light of the development of the European single market for construction works and engineering services there is thus a need to harmonize them and to develop agreed European technical recommendations for the safety and durability assessment of existing structures. These recommendations should follow the principles and application rules in the Eurocodes and provide a scheme with different levels of analysis: a basic level with general methods and further levels with higher sophistication that call for specific expertise.