Health Monitoring of the New High Performance Steel Bridge on MD 140 over MD 27

FHWA Innovative Bridge Research & Construction (IBRC) Program approved funding to the State of Maryland for the fiscal year 2003 to partially cover the construction of an A709, Grade HPS 70W (high performance steel) bridge. HPS70W is considered an innovated material and this new steel, developed under a cooperative research effort between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the U.S. Navy and the North American steel industry, possesses superior weldability and toughness compared to conventional steels of the same strength range. However, its long-term performance needs to be evaluated. FHWA/MDSHA has awarded a grant to the University of Maryland for the bridge monitoring and performance evaluation.

The newly constructed bridge is located on MD 140 over MD 27, Maryland Midland Railway and West Branch. The project is located in the City of Westminster, Carroll County, Maryland. The bridge will be a two-span continuous structure with haunched steel girders. The total length of the bridge is 300’-0” c/c bearings. Total out-to-out dimension is 130’-0”. Distributed sensors will be installed at the positive and negative moment regions to catch the maximum positive and negative live load due to highway vehicles. With the flexibility of this novel technology, sensors can be either embedded to the concrete deck or bonded to the steel girders. The experimental characteristics will be compared with the characteristics obtained by conventional strain gage sensors, linear deflection sensors (LVDT) and laser sensors in order to determine the merits and limitations of the proposed distributed wire sensor. The results obtained will be used to demonstrate the merits and potential of this new class of sensors as a viable means for monitoring the static and dynamic deflections of bridge decks.