This article presents the results from an experimental program designed to evaluate the performance of a system consisting of a readout unit and a ribbon type Fiber Optic Sensor (FOS) based on Brillouin Optical Time Domain Analysis (BOTDA). The system is intended for the detection of cracks as well as the monitoring of long-term performance for steel bridge girders. The program consisted of introducing a crack at the center of a 3-m-long steel beam and monitoring its progression using static loading tests performed at ambient and sub-zero temperatures. For sensor lengths similar to those used in the field, the resonant frequency shifts per unit increase in crack width were found to decrease from 114 MHz/mm at ambient temperature (~25C) to 65 MHz/mm at -10C. Results also revealed nonlinearity and variability, which can be attributed to an incompatibility between the settings of the laser pump in the readout unit and the sensor length. Significant losses were detected along the bonded segments of the sensor and were attributed to the presence of ripples along the sensor. These undulations worsen with a reduction in temperature and are induced by the bonding procedure as well as the slack provided in the plastic sleeves containing the splices.