Bridge Monitoring Systems Are Necessary

Bridges on roads and highways get a lot of use and abuse. All the vehicles crossing the bridges put a lot of weight on them plus each vehicle creates vibrations as it goes over the bridge. All of that weight and all of those vibrations can do a lot of damage to the bridge. Then the weather has to be considered. The freeze/thaw cycle in cold areas can create damage or make existing damage worse. Everything together can really age a bridge. Because of all that, it's important to make sure that the bridges are monitored. Monitoring the bridges will let structural engineers keep track of what is happening to the bridge so that they can intercede if there is a problem. There are several things that can go into a bridge monitoring system. 

Visual Checks

One thing that is going to be part of any monitoring system is visual checks. Structural engineers will go and inspect the bridge to see if they can see any visible damage or faults. A visual inspection may also include taking pictures or videos of the bridge so that there is a record of what the bridge looked like at the time of inspection. Every time the bridge gets inspected, a new visual record can be taken and compared to the older ones. Changes can happen slowly, and only by comparing the visual records can they be seen. 

Stress Gauges 

The bridge is going to be under a lot of stress, so having a stress gauge can help to track how much stress the bridge is under. Stress can affect the metal of the bridge and cause it to fail and wear down the concrete in the bridge. Putting various gauges in strategic areas will keep track of how much stress that area is under. The gauges can be wired so that they report their findings to monitoring software. The software can send notifications to the engineers in charge of the bridge monitoring system if there is a sudden spike in the stress, which could indicate an emergent problem that has to be handled immediately. 

It is important to carefully monitor the health of any structure, especially bridges. Bridges see so much traffic and are a very important part of any transportation infrastructure. Having a structural engineering company set up a bridge monitoring system to keep track of what is going on with the bridge helps keep everyone safe. 

Contact a company that offers bridge monitoring sensors to learn more.