Visual Image Correlation for Bridge Displacement Measurement

Bridge owners and managers are overwhelmed with increasing maintenance costs and decreasing maintenance budgets, and efficient allocation of resources is dependent on the ability to perform objective assessments of bridge health. One method to objectively assess the performance of a structure is the installation of traditional sensors, which typically need to be in physical contact with the bridge and may require special equipment for access to key bridge elements as well as wiring for power supply and data acquisition. Visual image correlation (VIC) is a noncontact, optical measurement technique that can be used as an alternative to traditional bridge response measurement instruments such as strain gages or linear variable differential transformers, commonly referred to as LVDTs. VIC was applied to a series of laboratory and field experiments for verification of VIC application for civil structures in which the VIC system and traditional sensors simultaneously were deployed. The collected measurements were used for structural model verification, alternative distribution factor calculation and development of load rating factors for condition assessment. The results from the field deployment at the Powder Mill Road Bridge in Barre, Massachusetts are presented herein.

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