Skip to main content


Friday 25 Oct 2019Modelling flooding impact to bridges and roads

Dr Maria Pregnolato - University of Bristol

Harrison 170 14:30-15:30


Modern built environments can be considered as “system of cities” and modern cities as “system of systems”. Flood events are the most frequent cause of damage to infrastructure compared to any other natural hazard, and global changes are likely to increase this damage. Transportation systems are fundamental in urban areas and a failed link can largely impact the community. Riverine bridges are “special” links in the system, since they have less redundancy, a high construction cost and a high vulnerability to floods.

This research draws on the principles of a risk-based approach to assess the hydrodynamic effects of floods on bridges and moves these forward by advancing a network-level analysis. A framework integrates hydrodynamic forces modelling, structural analysis and network analysis for inundated bridges; it aims to holistically investigate from the hazard trigger to the consequences of such impact. A case study in Carlisle (UK) is on-going as proof of concept of the methodology.


Maria Pregnolato is a Lecturer in Civil Engineering and EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Science Research Council) Research Fellow at the University of Bristol (UK). Her work focuses on infrastructure resilience, in particular the impact of flooding to road networks. She holds a Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) EPSRC fellowship to investigate the impact of flooding on bridges and transport.

Beginning her academic career at Newcastle University (UK), Maria developed an integrated flood-transport model to explore the impact of flooding on road networks. She is currently visiting the University of Washington in Seattle (US) to apply tsunami models to riverine bridges exposed to high-river flows , and integrated those with structural and network analysis.

Maria believes that engineers have a crucial role in developing solutions to current global challenges. Her research interests include urban planning, climate adaptation and green infrastructure, in a long-term career vision to improve the resilience and the quality of urban infrastructure through applied research. She collaborates with a range on institutions worldwide and her work is a cross-disciplinary endeavour, with the ultimate aim to improve the liveability of our cities

Add to calendar

Add to calendar (.ics)