Notes on bridges and earthquakes

  • J. B. Wilson N.Z. Govt. Railways, New Zealand


Following the disastrous Napier earthquake in New Zealand (1931) seismic resistant construction has been a factor in bridge design in New Zealand. An early Government instruction is as follows; “wherever possible the structures should be made monolithic, and where this is not possible all parts of the structure should be well tied together. Piers should be designed to resist an acceleration of one-tenth the weight of the super-structure”.


"P.W.D. General Instructions to Officers" Section 361 Bridges, Pg. 177.

"Bridge Manual" Ministry of Works 1956 Pg. 102 Clause 3. 2.13.

N.Z.S.S. 1900 Chapter 8 - 1965 "Basic Design Loads".

Proceedings of the N.Z. Institution of Engineers 1945 (Vol. XXXI) "Railway Bridges of Reinforced Concrete".

Journal of American Concrete Institute December 1964 "Rigid Frame Railroad Bridges in Japan" by Yoshiji Matsumoto, pages 1490 and 1499.

Third World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, N.Z. 1965 "Some Tendencies in the Failure of Bridges and their Foundations during Earthquakes" by J. Kodera.

Uniform Building Code: 1964 Edition Section 2314 (k) 2. BUILDING SEPARATIONS.

Earthquake Symposium N.Z.I.E. paper on damage to Landing, Inangahua and Buller Bridges by J. P. Hollings.

"Geology a n d Engineering" R. F. Legget 2nd Edition Pg. 667.

"Standard Specifications for Highway Bridges" A.A.S.H.O. Eighth Edition 1961 page 22 clause 1.2.20 - earthquake stresses.

"American Civil Engineering Practice" - Abbett (1957) Vol. III page 34-30. "Earthquakes and Earthquake Resistant Design", 17 Bridges.

Proceedings Inst. Civil Engineers (U.K.) Volume 236 page 357.

"Earthquake Resistant Design for Civil Engineering Structures, Earth Structures and Foundations in Japan" compiled by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers (1960) Page 74.

Third World Conference on Earthquake Engineering N.Z. 1965 "General Report - Earthquake Resistant Design, Construction and Regulations".

"Civil Engineering" (U.S.) August 1939 "Earthquake Studies for Pitt River Bridge" by J, L. Savage.

California Department of Public Works - Bridge Across Eel River at North Scotia Humboldt County, Bridge No. C-111-101 and 102.

How to Cite
Wilson, J. B. (1968). Notes on bridges and earthquakes . Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 1(2), 92-97.