Crashes at Bridges and Culverts

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #5 - 1989

Author: K. Ogden

Full report in .pdf format [14MB]


This report presents the results of research on a pro-active approach to treatment of bridges and culverts in Victoria. The primary aim of the study was to develop guidelines to help traffic engineers identify bridge and culvert sites which may become abnormally hazardous to road users, especially sites which are not yet experiencing exceptional reported crash frequencies or rates. The aim of such early identification is to enable preventative measures to be implemented to reduce longer term hazards at the sites.

The report reviews the nature of crashes at bridges and culverts, analyses past crash patterns at such sites in Victoria in recent years, and describes the range of treatments which may be applied to bridges and culverts.

A range of recommendations are presented, in three areas: delineation, safety barriers and other actions. The first two are on-going programs, while the third comprises mainly one-off elements, such as the development of a training program, and the need for further research.

The delineation program would aim to introduce, in priority order, devices which meet current standards at all sites which meet the relevant warrants. These devices include guideposts and post mounted delineators, bridge width markers, edge lines with raised reflective pavement markers, and chevron signs on curved approaches.

The safety barrier program would aim to install, in priority order, guard fencing to current standards at all sites which meet the relevant warrants.

A feature of both of these programs is that all sites, including those which have delineation devices and/or guard fencing installed, should be assessed to ensure that such installations are in accord with current standards.

Bridge and culvert sites are recommended to be assessed in a priority order which depends on (a) bridge width, (h) traffic volumes (AADT), and (c) bridge length. These variables have been shown to be key factors affecting bridge safety, and the values recommended are based upon current NAASRA bridge assessment criteria.

Sponsor: Road Traffic Authority