Development of an Advanced Structural Monitoring System for Fracture Critical Steel Bridges

Principal Investigator(s):

Arturo Schultz, Former Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

With bridge infrastructure in Minnesota aging, advancing techniques for ensuring the safety of bridges and motorists is a fundamental goal of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT). As such, developing health monitoring systems for fracture critical bridges is an essential objective in meeting the stated goal. This project applies the methodology and uses the information of a previous Mn/DOT report to investigate, select, and design a bridge health monitoring system for the Cedar Avenue Bridge which is a fracture critical tied arch bridge in Burnsville, Minnesota. An investigation of monitoring needs for the Cedar Avenue Bridge was undertaken. In addition, the researchers reviewed literature with the goal of determining the most applicable monitoring technology that is commercially available and which fulfills the required bridge monitoring needs. Once a monitoring technology was selected, the researchers selected a vendor (using a computer-based program developed in the aforementioned Mn/DOT report) to select a suggested system of monitoring equipment for Mn/DOT to purchase. The final research report describes multiple alternatives for monitoring scales, scopes, locations, and capabilities, with global monitoring of the most critical members and connections of the bridge as the researchers' recommendation. A procedure for installation of the suggested bridge health monitoring system is also recommended, and is applicable to any of the monitoring alternatives presented in this report.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2010013
  • Start date: 06/2009
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Infrastructure
  • Topics: Bridge design and sensing

Reports or Products: