Many of us cross bridges every day as we travel to and from our various destinations. As long as their operating condition doesn’t affect our travel, most of us probably don’t give them much thought. However, the recent bridge collapse in Minnesota likely made all of us think more about the safety of the bridges we cross—and perhaps we should. Federal Highway Administration data from 2004 showed that, of the 594,101 bridges in their inventory, 77,796 were classified as being structurally deficient. While the classification of structurally deficient doesn’t necessarily mean a bridge is unsafe, it certainly brings attention to a growing problem. With thousands of bridges nearing their life expectancy and insufficient resources to fix them all at once, bridge monitoring and testing are key to maintaining the safety of our infrastructure.
Bridge health monitoring can consist of short-term, dynamic testing or long-term, static monitoring. Shortterm testing includes live-load, shaker, wind-load, strain or stress, and deflection tests. Long-term testing can include many of the same, as well as testing for tilt, rotation or movement, settlement or twist, and scour. All of these can provide engineers with valuable data about the structural integrity, load limits, life expectancy, needed repairs, and other safety concerns.
Bridge monitoring applications require rugged instrumentation, and for this reason Campbell Scientific dataloggers are often used by bridge researchers and engineers. Our dataloggers are designed for long-term, stand-alone monitoring, and to withstand extreme temperatures. They can operate without AC power or computers and feature unmatched versatility. Nearly every commercially available sensor can be used, supporting specific application requirements. Data from remote sites can be retrieved via satellite, radio, phone, cellphone, and other telemetry methods. This versatility and rugged reliability comes without sacrificing measurement quality— something for which Campbell Scientific is well known.
Our dataloggers have been used over the years to monitor many prominent bridges. Whether bridges are large or small, Campbell Scientific is committed to providing quality instrumentation and support to help maintain their safety.