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Experience has shown that arch bridges are very durable structures and should require less maintenance in comparison to other bridge forms. Prior to the publication of BD 91/04, there had not been a standard covering the design of new unreinforced arch bridges.
BD 91/04 considered research into the behaviour of arch bridges that has been undertaken by a number of organisations including Transport Research Laboratory, British Rail Research and a number of universities. In BD 91/04, consideration was given to the results of most of this work. This research included Melbourne and Gilbert [Ref 6.I], Mair 1995 [Ref 1.I], Choo & Hogg 1995 [Ref 3.I], Cox & Halsall 1996 [Ref 2.I] and Owen, Peric, Petrinic, Brookes and James ( Owen et al 1998 [Ref 4.I]).
Maintenance requirements have significant effects on whole life costs. The financial benefits arising from reduced maintenance requirements for unreinforced arch bridges should be considered when comparing the whole life costs of arch bridges with other types of bridges.
This document states the design requirements for arch bridges. It complements the masonry and associated work requirements for unreinforced masonry arch bridges in the Specification for Highway Works MCHW SHW [Ref 14.N].