Over-height Vehicle Collision Protection and Detection System for Cold Region Highway Bridges

Highway bridge safety is a concern nationwide, and of particular concern in northern states like Alaska and Washington where over-height trucks damage the bottom corner or edges of girders. Beyond these states, research estimates that nearly one-third of the nation's 600,000 highway bridges are currently in need of repair or replacements, making applications for innovative bridge concepts and construction methods vital to both traffic safety and cost-effective maintenance. Because of this pressure issue, researches are addressing a growing need for over-height impact protection and detection systems. This collaborative research team, led by Dr. Pizhong Qiao of Washington State University (WSU) and J. Leroy Hulsey of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), will examine novel use of high energy absorbing materials and smart sensors in cold regions to help protect against this costly bridge damage. Qiao and Hulsey are developing a system using lightweight and high-energy absorbing honeycomb sandwich materials. The team will integrate the system with smart impact sensors for over-height detecting and remote sensing to protect bridge girders from localized impact damages in cold regions. The over-height project will address the Alaska University Transportation Center (AUTC) theme of "transportation safety, security and innovation in cold regions" by exploring this novel use of materials. The project is also: (1) Developing integrated remote detection and monitoring technology in difficulty-accessible areas during cold weather; (2) Improving rapid construction and installation techniques through lightweight honeycomb sandwich materials and modular units in cold climates and enhancing safety and security through early warning, online remote monitoring, load-rerouting impact damage preventing. Bringing together the collective insight of researchers and bridge safety experts from UAF, WSU, Washington State Department of Transportation, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Ohio Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Performing Organizations:

    Alaska University Transportation Center

    University of Alaska, Fairbanks
    P.O. Box 755900
    Fairbanks, AK  United States  99775-5900

    Washington State University, Pullman

    Civil & Environmental Engineering Department
    PO Box 642910
    Pullman, WA  United States  99164-2910
  • Principal Investigators:

    Hulsey, J Leroy

    Qiao, Pizhong

  • Start Date: 20110701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20121231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 33869

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01522814
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Alaska University Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT06-G-001, 510024
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Apr 24 2014 1:00AM