C. MELBOURNE Bolton Institute of Higher Education

There are in excess of 60,000 arch bridges in the UK, many with brickwork barrels. All carry loads well in excess of those envisaged by their designers. A nationwide research programme aims to improve understanding of their behaviour with a view to improving assessment methods. The paper discusses the general areas of uncertainty with regard to establishing a theoretical physical model and relates these to the results of a series of small and full scale brick arch bridge tests. Critical parameters are identified.