Monitoring of civil engineering structures is a new area that has gained significant attention recently and became a topic of extreme national interest. This area is being driven by the need to develop efficient condition assessment procedures for structural performance in response to societal and economic needs. the main goal of monitoring is to detect accurately and efficiently structural damage either due to long-term deterioration processes or due to extreme events (e.g. earthquakes, blasts). with the emergence of new technologies, structures can now be monitored remotely from a central monitoring station located several miles away from the field. Sensors are placed at several critical locations along the structure and send structural information to a central station. the structure is thus thought of as an intelligent or smart system that is capable of sending information and providing warnings before any major failure. This remote capability allows immediate damage detection, so that necessary actions that ensure public safety are taken. the research work concerns the development, construction, and testing of the first smart bridge structure in Florida, the East Bay bridge over Bullfrog Creek in Gibsonton, Hillsborough County. Fiber Optic Fabry-Perot smart sensors were both surface-mounted to the concrete and bonded to the deck reinforcing bars during the construction phase of the bridge. Static and Dynamic testing of the bridge were performed using loaded SU-4 trucks. a 3-dimensional analytical finite element model of the bridge was developed, and its results were compared to the test data. the study confirmed the accuracy of the sensors in estimating the bridge behavior under heavy truck loads. in addition to the tests described above, the smart sensors are currently being connected to a data acquisition system permanently installed on-site. the acquisition system could be accessed through remote communication with DSL lines, which permits the evaluation of the bridge behavior under live traffic loads. Currently, live structural data under traffic loading is being transmitted continuously to the county maintenance office. the technology developed under this work will enable practical, cost-effective, and reliable maintenance of bridge structures, and the study will provide a unique opportunity for future growth of this technology within the state of Florida.© ASCE 2006.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

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Article - Conference proceedings

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Publication Date

28 Dec 2006