Remote Monitoring of Bridge Piers for Barge Impact

Grants and Contracts Details


The most critical and vulnerable elements of the surface transportation system are the bridges. Bridges are critical because they traverse natural barriers, and there are usually few (if any) alternatives to using the bridge. Kentucky has several key bridges carrying interstate traffic across major rivers. When one ofthese bridges is closed, even for a relatively short time period, the traffic and economic impacts are enormous. The vulnerability of bridges sterns from the fact that they are supported by structures. These structures are susceptible to damage or destruction from natural or man-made causes. When bridges are damaged or destroyed, the repairs are usually costly and time-consuming. Thus, it is critical to do everything possible to protect these critical elements in the transportation system. One of the major ways that bridges can be damaged is through the impact of barges on bridge piers. Such impacts can cause catastrophic damage, but often such impacts go unreported, and the damage may be undetected until a catastrophic event occurs. This project will enhance the security of the surface transportation infrastructure by installing instrumentation on a selected security-critical bridge over the Ohio River. This instrumentation will have the capability to detect barge or flotilla impact with bridge piers or other damaging events (such as an explosion), immediately notify emergency response personnel (through cell phone calls and e-mail messages), and provide an alarm at the Transportation Operations Center in Frankfort. Digital images ofthe bridge piers will be provided to appropriate agencies and designated individuals. This will ensure that any potentially damaging impact to the bridge pier is detected quickly and responded to appropriately. Where the damaging impact was the result of a barge or flotilla, the system will also capture one or more images of the barge or flotilla to assist in assigning responsibility for the damage.
Effective start/end date7/1/076/30/08


  • KY Transportation Cabinet


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