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Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction

Transforming infrastructure through smarter information
 

CSIC’s collaborative project to create two of the UK’s first ever smart bridges is featured on the Transforming Construction story catalogue that showcases innovations that are changing UK construction.

The article titled ‘Smart Bridges – fibre optics that give remote and real-time assessment of structural health’ shines a light on CSIC’s Staffordshire Bridges project, which is an ongoing collaboration with industry partner Network Rail, the Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering and Technology and The Alan Turing Institute. Two new bridges that form part of the Stafford Area Improvement Programme on the West Coast Main Line were instrumented with fibre optic mixed-sensor monitoring systems to determine their static and dynamic response during whole-life performance. Sensors register how the structures react to the moving forces when trains pass over the bridges and huge amounts of data are produced which are analysed by data scientists at The Turing and relayed to structural engineers at CSIC.

Insights gained from data analytics provides valuable additional information about the performance and structural health of the bridges. Historically, asset owners and operators have relied on visual inspections, which can be costly and disruptive to carry out and only provide a short-term, periodic picture of the asset which limits the possibility of proactive maintenance schedules. Closing bridges for repairs and maintenance brings challenges to network operators and inconvenience to travellers.

The Transforming Construction article explains: “Creating smart bridges with fibre optic monitoring systems starts to show what is possible for remote, real-time condition assessment over the lifetime of a structure. The continuous data they produce gives owners and operators a more accurate picture of the condition and structural health of our bridges and the effects of the environment on them - without the costs and hazards associated with on-site visual inspections. Asset managers can then proactively schedule timely maintenance and make better informed operational decisions. The more robust and reliable data can then lead to more efficient and effective asset management plans across the industry which ultimately improve the whole-life value of our bridges - letting our infrastructure do what it does best and connecting people and places without disruption.”

• Read the full article Smart Bridges – fibre optics that give remote and real-time assessment of structural health

• The Transforming Construction story catalogue is funded by UK Research and Innovation

• The Smart Bridges project has been funded by grants from EPSRC, Innovate UK, Transforming Construction and is supported by the Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) as a partner in the Construction Innovation Hub (the Hub) funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Fund

 

 

 

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