R. Wendner, A. Krawtschuk, et al.
Bridge Maintenance, Safety, Management, Resilience and Sustainability – Biondini & Frangopol (Eds). London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2012, pp. 879- 884
Arch bridges made from nature stone nowadays are the oldest structures which are still in use on road and railway lines. With an average age of more than hundred years, these structures often are seen as historical important buildings. Most of them had been constructed during the great building period of roads and railways from the 1840ies to 1900. Lots of the considered nature stone bridges are constructed as circle or three center curve, some of them also in a parabolic form or catenaries or cycloide. The height of the apex cover varies in a large range. If masonry was appropriated, usually sand, chalkstone or clay bricks were used. For most bridges no observations of the material parameter are available, as a result the stone and the mortar strengths are unknown. Under the usage of the German
railway company, there are more than 8000 arch bridges yet, although at local roads there is an additional unknown number of them. In Austria, the railway network, especially along the southern railway line has around 1000 arch bridges in usage. In whole Europe, the stock of masonry railway bridges is estimated with around 70.000. In the course of route expansion plans in the past especially arch bridges have been replaced by new steel or reinforced concrete structures. Considerations of preservation, the budgetary situation of the rail and road operators, as well as a sustainable, resource efficient usage of resources and existing infrastructure are motivations to maintain and – if necessary – toughen up existing arch bridges. Therefore, the issues of sustainability, durability and serviceability become more important.