Outdoor Laboratory and Testbed for Bridge Health

Bridge health assessment invokes inspection, nondestructive evaluation, and destructive testing. Inspection and nondestructive evaluation are commonly implemented in practice; however, these techniques may involve subjective decision making, human interactions, and lack of verified or calibrated approaches. Furthermore, destructive tests such as deck coring and overstressing structural elements beyond their elastic limit are not commonly performed in practice due to their detrimental impacts to in-service structures. Therefore, realistic out-of-service bridge site(s) are critically needed to fully understand how bridges behave throughout their service life. The proposed research project has one overarching objective to transform two bridge sites (a total of three bridges) into a national research and educational facility for bridge health and testing. This will permit access for nondestructive evaluation and destructive test verifications. Furthermore, this facility can be leveraged for future research projects and identify strategic directions for this first-of-its-kind facility on realistic aging infrastructure.