Collaborative Proposal: Feasibility of Bridge Structural Health Monitoring Using Short Term, Data Acquisition System

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CAIT project no.: CAIT-UTC-024

Fiscal Year: 2012/2013

Status: Final

Rutgers-CAIT Author(s): Paul Barr, Ph.D., Patrick Szary, Ph.D.

External Author(s): E. David Lambert III, P.E.

Sponsor(s): New Jersey Department of Transportation, FHWA - RITA


As a national trend, DOTs are faced with difficult financial decisions.  The age of the infrastructure is increasing and deteriorating, needing maintenance and in some cases replacement.  This does not include the additional needs of infrastructure expansion due to the population increasing.  However, there simply is not enough money available to meet the required needs.  As a result judicious decisions need to be made based on accurate assessment of bridge performance. Bridge performance is dependent on many factors and therefore is often different than the assumed designed behavior.  Factors such as loading frequency and magnitude, load distribution, support conditions and environment are critical variables that can lead to changes in bridge performance. This proposed research will obtain the critical bridge performance factors by developing a self-contained, rapidly deployable data acquisition system that can be applied to a bridge and monitor the required data.  It is proposed that this system will be deployed on two bridges, one in the Commonwealth of Virginia and another in the State of Utah.  The data gathered from this system will be compared with comprehensive date gathered from comprehensive long-term data acquisition systems already deployed on the two bridges.