Acoustic Imaging to Enhance Bridge Inspection and Bridge Repair Design

In the last decade, underwater acoustic imaging has developed to a point to where it has become very useful for supporting underwater inspections as well as the design of the rehabilitation. Underwater acoustic imaging is being used for bridges in very turbid, low visibility and polluted waterways. The images can rapidly be generated in the field to enhance the safety of the diver and focus the inspections on critical areas. The images can also provide a visual representation of what the diver finds during the underwater inspection, providing greater clarity to the bridge owner of the underwater conditions. Finally, designers are beginning to use these images to assist in the design of rehabilitation of the bridge and to provide additional information to the contractors, detailing the conditions underwater. Owners and inspectors should know the uses and limitations of underwater acoustic imaging and how it can help them when dealing with bridges located over waterways.

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