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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-09-040    Date:  May 2014
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-09-040
Date: May 2014


State of The Practice and Art for Structural Health Monitoring of Bridge Substructures

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This project was originally intended to show the merits of substructure health monitoring via a review of the few well-documented cases wherein a concerted effort to assess the long-term performance of foundations were in place. While these efforts were underway, the St. Anthony Falls Bridge, also known as the I-35W bridge, over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, MN, collapsed in August 2007 in the middle of rush hour, killing 13 people. This incident revealed to engineers the United States’ failing infrastructure. As a result, the project was redirected to aid the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration in providing an effective yet economical means to monitor the new substructure during construction and in future years. That which was intended to be a review of previously performed and available technologies became a demonstration of available technologies and how they play into the role of foundation health monitoring.

This final report provides an overview of the benefits of remote data acquisitions systems for both short- and long-term monitoring of highway bridges. It contains background information and presents capabilities of data collection systems for highway bridges and concludes with an evaluation of a recent case study where remote health monitoring was successfully implemented. Interested audiences of the report include bridge engineers, highway officials, and municipality officials.

Jorge E. Pagán-Ortiz
Director, Office of Infrastructure
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

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