Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV) runs a railway lIne between Alicante and Denia (Comunitat Valenciana). It connects Alicante with several popular resort towns, among which Benidorm, Altea and Calpe. With a total length of nearly 100 km, its original construction dates back to the early 20th century and includes many underpasses, overpasses, pedestrian crossings, culverts, viaducts, and tunnels. They cover a huge variety of structural typologies, materials and construction age. Some of them remain as original, some have been repaired, rehabilitated or revamped and others have been substituted.
FGV has recently acquired a new modern portfolio of trains that bring more comfort and passenger capacity to service. The new heavier trains carry a bigger load per axle than the previous trains.
Pedelta was retained by FGV in 2018 to perform a load capacity assessment on the existing bridges taking into account the new train loads. Pedelta was also to carry out a comprehensive previous research of existing information on the bridges (Design, “As Built”, reports, previous inspections, etc.) throughout city councils, Diputacion de Alicante, MOP, Golf Courses, water authority, FEVE, and FGV archives, etc. With the information gathered, Pedelta carried out a detailed inspection of bridges and tunnels which served the purpose of not only updating the inventory and spotting damage and pathologies but also defining the necessary field test campaign in order to get all the necessary information on all the bridges.
Pedelta carried out an extensive variety of tests on site, such as concrete compressive strength tests, reinforcing steel tests, non-destructive tests (concrete carbonation, rebound hammer, Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity (UPV), geotechnical prospection, etc.) With the necessary relevant information gathered, a detailed structural assessment was carried out including Ultimate Limit State and Service Limit State. A fatigue analysis was also developed on the original steel trusses (Mascarat and Algar Viaducts).
The extensive studies finished with a detailed report for each and every structure, including: inventory update, damages assessment, definition and cost-appraisal of repair, rehabilitation and strengthening works.
The inspection and assessment report confirmed that the new trains could operate and only two ancient steel bridges must be replaced within a few years for fatigue life, and rail traffic on those bridges should not be allowed in high speed wind conditions.