The historical vehicles passed through an existing bridge can be regarded as proof-loading tests for the bridge, and, as a result, are evident of the bridge’s performance. Such service history information has been utilized to update the estimate of bridge resistance in previous studies with the help of a Bayesian method, where the resistance deterioration process was assumed to be independent of the vehicle load process. This assumption is, however, untenable in many cases where the deterioration stochastic process is statistically correlated with the load process (e.g., a greater load intensity may affect/accelerate the deterioration of structural resistance and the accumulation of structural fragility). With this regard, this paper investigates the effect of correlation between the resistance deterioration and load processes on updating the resistance of aging bridges with prior service load information. The copula function is employed to model the joint distribution of the correlated deterioration and load processes, with which the correlation is measured by the Kendall’s tau. A new method is developed in this paper to assess the updated bridge resistance taking into consideration the deterioration-load dependency in an explicit form. The applicability of the proposed method is illustrated using an existing RC beam bridge. The sensitivity analysis is conducted to examine how the deterioration-load dependency affects the updated resistance of service-proven aging bridges.
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