MnDOT is analysing vibration data from the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge to create oversights that could detect structural defects during the early stages and enable engineers to improve designs for bridges.
Assistant Professor Laura Linderman of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering at the University of Minnesota said that the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge was ideal for studying the environmental effects on new bridges in areas where the weather tends to be extreme.
Principal Benjamin Jilk at the MnDOT Bridge Office said that the project helped MnDOT get closer its goal of combining bridge monitoring systems with visual oversight to detect issues before they require costly correction and compromise public safety.
The I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge was built nine years ago to incorporate a ‘smart’ structural defects electronic monitoring system. It includes over 500 sensors that provide ongoing data on how the concrete changes shape in response to traffic, temperature changes, and wind. They can detect problems before they get out of hand and improve future bridge designs.
This smart bridge system features accelerometers, which transmit data on bridge response to stimuli such as structural damage. This allows damage to be detected anywhere on the bridge instead of at specific locations that contain measuring devices.