In the United States, management of more than 600,000 bridges presents ongoing challenges in planning, operation, and preventive maintenance for Federal, State, and local transportation agencies. Assessment of the condition of the bridge population for better planning and prioritization of rehabilitation or repairs is still one of the most important challenges facing the infrastructure owners and planner. Traditional approaches for gathering information on the condition the existing bridges could be time-consuming, labor-intensive and costly processes, and in some cases, may fall short of providing the decision makers the accurate information they need.
Rutgers Universityâ€™s Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) as part of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Long-Term Bridge Performance (LTBP) program developed a robotic nondestructive evaluation (NDE) platform to enhance assessment of bridge decks called RABITâ„˘ Bridge Deck Assessment Tool. The technologies incorporated into the RABITâ„˘ Bridge Deck Assessment Tool include (a) high resolution cameras and imaging systems, (b) Electrical Resistivity to characterize the corrosive environment of the concrete, (c) Impact Echo and Ultrasonic Surface Waves to evaluate concrete delamination and concrete deck strength, (d) Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to â€śmapâ€ť rebar and other metallic objects below the surface using electromagnetic waves (GPR also provides a qualitative assessment of concrete deck deterioration), and (e) Global Positioning System (GPS) to record and mark location data, making testing grids virtually obsolete.
As part of this project Intelligent Infrastructure Systems provided peer review services for the RABITâ„˘ Bridge Deck Assessment Tool development and design team. The scope included interviews and review of Technical Design Requirements (TDR), review of the RABITâ„˘ Bridge Deck Assessment Toolâ€™s documentation and reporting the recommendations to improve the quality of design, data collection, fabrication, and operation of the tool.