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There are a considerable number of masonry arch bridges in the UK, most dating from the 19th Century but some much older. A small but important proportion of these bridges are skewed arches, often having been constructed to carry railway lines into cities on relatively straight paths across existing features, such as canals and
James Davey and Charles Augarde
With the rapid increase in urban development and in population, habitable areas that are not already densely populated are on the decline. For example, whereas in 1950, there were only 7 urban areas in the world with more than 5m inhabitants, this number rose to 34 in 1980 and is expected to rise further to 60 by the year 2000 (Mehta and Motiero, 1993). This, coupled with the increasing importance of corporate insurance and risk management, has led to heightened awareness of the importance of earthquake risk assessment and management of the disastrous effects of this natural hazard.