Event Organiser: ICE

Bridge distress caused by approach embankment settlement, Preston


  • Lecture
  • Preston
  • 16 January 2019
  • 18:00 - 20:00
Surtees Viaduct

About this event

Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - April 2008

This paper reports on the geotechnical performance of a highway bridge, Surtees Bridge, which carries the A66(T) over the River Tees near Thornaby-on-Tees in the UK. The bridge was constructed in 1980.

Site investigations associated with plans to widen the river crossing (1992-93) to cope with increased traffic volumes revealed that the bridge had suffered significant settlement-related distress. The distress had been caused primarily by settlement of one of the approach embankments and the resulting movement of the associated bridge abutment.

Ground investigations prompted by the proposed widening of the river crossing produced new data on the alluvial deposits underlying the site, and explained why embankment settlement was so much larger than originally anticipated.

The foundations for highway bridges must satisfy demanding movement criteria if a bridge is to perform satisfactorily over its full design life. Movement of bridge supports can affect all aspects of bridge performance, from visual appearance to vehicle ride quality, and in extreme cases can affect the structural integrity of the bridge.

This paper investigated the reasons why movements of the bridge abutment were causing distress to the bridge, and why these movements were not anticipated during bridge design.

Organised by ICE Lancashire branch and ICE NW Geotechnical Group.

For more information please contact Kenton Chong.


Chris Danilewicz

Jacobs, Ground Engineering Adviser - Senior Geotechnical Consultant and Technologist


University of Central Lancashire
Foster Building, Lecture Theatre 3
Corporation Street
Preston PR1 2HE
United Kingdom
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For more information please contact:

Lauren Moczulski

e: [email protected]