Health assessment and ambient vibration testing of the “Ponte delle Torri” of Spoleto during the 2016–2017 Central Italy seismic sequence

Ivan Roselli, Marialaura Malena, Marialuisa Mongelli, Nicola Cavalagli, Massimiliano Gioffrè, Gerardo De Canio, Gianmarco de Felice
Data pubblicazione
Journal of Civil Structural Health Monitoring
vol. 8, n. 2, 199-216

The Ponte delle Torri is a large medieval masonry bridge, one of the main architectural heritage of Spoleto, Italy. The location of the bridge is less than 50 km from the main epicenters of the recent Central Italy earthquakes (Mw > 5.0) that occurred between August 2016 and February 2017. In addition, some minor quakes of the sequence (Mw between 3.0 and 4.0) occurred within 10 km from the bridge, causing some damages and fear among the population around Spoleto. In this context, the present paper aims at contributing to understand the effects on the structural health of the bridge by analyzing the ambient vibration data acquired before, during and after the seismic sequence, as changes in the dynamic behavior of the structure might indicate the evolution of the state of damage of the monument. In particular, vibration data were processed by modal analysis techniques for mutual validation of the extracted modal parameters. Environmental and vibration data were simultaneously acquired to take into account the seasonal effects on the dynamic behavior. Through a preliminary finite-element model (FEM) the modal shapes were obtained to choose the positions where to locate the sensors for the vibration spot acquisition session of June 2015. The same positions were acquired in October 2016 and at the end of May 2017. Subsequently, a more detailed FEM was produced based on a 3D reconstruction by structure-from-motion stereo-photogrammetry technique with high-resolution photos from unmanned aerial vehicle of the bridge. The model was validated through comparison with the damage pattern experienced by the bridge and then used for assessing the seismic safety by means of both, nonlinear dynamic and static push-over analyses.