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Mid-America Transportation Center

Investigation of Wind Effects on Bridges Induced by Tornadoes for Tornado-Resistance Design – Phase I


Missouri University of Science & Technology

Principal Investigator
Guirong (Grace) Yan
PI Contact Information
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided
USDOT: $37,499
MS&T Civil Department: $37,498
Total Project Cost
$ 74,997
Agency ID or Contract Number
Start Date
End Date
Brief Description of Research Project
The impact of tornadoes on civil structures is often devastating and results in loss of property, injury of human beings and/or loss of lives. In particular, thus far, 13 bridges have been destroyed or severely damaged by tornadoes in the USA. Even in the latest version (8th Edition, 2017) of the AASHTO Bridge Design Specifications, tornadic wind loads have not been considered as a design load. To prevent bridges from being severely damaged or destroyed during future tornado incidents, it is imperative to characterize the wind effects induced by tornadoes on bridges and determine the design tornadic wind loads for bridges. This project will characterize the wind effects of tornadoes on bridges using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations, and modify the equations for calculating the design wind pressure on bridges. The obtained research findings will facilitate the tornado-resistance design of new bridges and the reinforcement of existing bridges to be tornado-resistant. This will eventually prevent bridges from failure during tornado incidents to enhance the safety of highway or railroad bridges.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation
Web Links
Modal Orientation
  • Bridges
  • Natural Disasters