Bridge weigh-in-motion systems were introduced in the 1970s as a structural health monitoring tool for road bridges. They help bridge operators determine the cause of induced strain in bridges and collect statistics on vehicle weight, class and frequency. There have been over 3000 installations in 25 countries worldwide, which has led to vast improvements in data post-processing. However, existing systems are based on electrical resistance strain gauges, which can be prohibitive in achieving data for long-term monitoring of rural bridges due to power consumption. This paper introduces a new low-power system using fibre optic sensors, which has been pioneered in Northern Ireland. A series of fibre optic sensors were attached to the soffit of an existing integral bridge with a single span of 19 m. The site selection criteria and full installation process are described in this paper. A method of calibration was adopted using live traffic at the bridge site, based on which the accuracy of the system was determined. New methods of axle detection for bridge weigh-in-motion were investigated and verified in the field.
- Field testing and monitoring,
- Research and development