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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Degree Type

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



historic, bridge, concrete, lenticular, arch, FEM


The present study examined the application of modern, computer-based analysis methods to two existing historic bridges in Massachusetts. The first bridge featured in this study is the Woronoco Bridge, a reinforced concrete open spandrel arch bridge that was constructed in 1923. It was hoped that a computer-based, parametric study of this bridge would prove it to be deck-stiffened, similar to select bridges of Swiss engineer Robert Maillart. However, the results do not support that there was any intent to reduce bending in the arch as a result of increasing the stiffness of the bridge deck. Instead, the Woronoco Bridge appears to optimize column stiffness in order to reduce bending stresses in the arch. The second bridge featured in this study is the Bardwell’s Ferry Bridge, a wrought iron lenticular truss that was constructed in 1882. A finite element model was created to identify the magnitude and location of maximum stresses within a critical lower truss chord (eye bar) connection in order to aid future rehabilitation and monitoring efforts. In addition, this model was used in combination with currently available material data in order to evaluate the fatigue life expectancy of the structure given the current 10 ton posted capacity. It was determined to be below the endurance limit and therefore is safe indefinitely, however, more specific material data is required.


First Advisor

Sergio F Breña