Targeted Structural Health Monitoring of the Bayonne Bridge

The Bayonne Bridge is undergoing unprecedented construction to increase the bridge height to allow larger Post-Panamax vessels to gain access to New York and New Jersey ports. The roadway of the arch and all approaches are being raised 65 feet to provide a 215-foot navigation clearance while maintaining vehicular traffic passage during construction. To ensure the safety of the structure during and after construction, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) required the use of targeted Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) applications.

The approach aims to establish an accurate baseline of the structure to then track for atypical responses that may be encountered during construction. Real time information will be provided to engineers on-site during construction to verify construction staging approaches and overall safety. Intelligent Infrastructure Systems has designed and specified a SHM system capable of tracking key structural load carrying properties during normal service in the bridge’s existing state to establish the baseline.

The system consists of a network of data acquisition equipment which remotely provides engineers with current wind speed and weather information, variation in intrinsic strains globally (across the structure) and locally (across a single bridge member), variation in dynamic strains due to live load inputs and finally variation in the main movement mechanisms of the structure (tilts and displacements). The responses will be characterized over time and seasonal changes to provide the client with typical intrinsic strain variations before construction begins.

Additionally, Intelligent Infrastructure Systems designed and performed a detailed ambient vibration survey to establish global structural properties relevant for refined finite element model calibration. In support of this design, Intelligent Infrastructure Systems personnel carried out a cursory ambient vibration survey to characterize the nature of the structural vibration response with minimal sensor and data acquisition equipment.