Instrumentation and Structural Health Monitoring of a Vertical Lift Bridge

ABSTRACT A practical long term structural health monitoring program must be based on available and reasonable field capabilities, the needs of the bridge owner, the anticipated behavior unique to the structure. A thoughtfully developed instrumentation plan that correspond to the real-world conditions will provide data to enhance the decision making process related to the maintenance program of the structure and advance to the state of the art of structural design for future structures. Vertical lift bridges require special considerations for structural health monitoring based on dynamic response due to the frequent, repeated impact on the structure from repetitive lifting activity. A structural health monitoring system designed to provide information related design verification, structural model calibration, fatigue monitoring and operational decision-making support will be presented in this paper for the newly reconstructed Memorial Bridge carrying US Route 1 between Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine. This paper will detail the development of the sensor layout including input from stakeholders, accessibility issues and complimentary and contradicting objectives. The sensor plan aims to provide both short-term and long-term decision making support. The design process for this sensors plan was long and involved input from all levels of bridge management and design, including bridge maintenance and operations. The additional effort produced a plan that provides value beyond the research effort leading the project.


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