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Moveable Bridges

Moveable Bridges

Moveable bridges represent a unique demographic in our nation’s bridge inventory in not only the complex structural systems used but also the incorporation of mechanical and electrical systems. Moveable bridges are often prime candidates for targeted and/or long-term monitoring applications for a few reasons:

  • They tend to be operation-critical – both in respect to the vehicular traffic or the impact to the navigable traffic relying on a functioning bridge. The bridge simply cannot be inoperable.
  • Due to federal funding limitations on new moveable bridges, the current inventory of movable bridges has an average construction year of 1957.
  • Moveable bridges are already equipped with electrical and mechanical control systems that would be complemented with targeted structural monitoring where needed.
  • Maintenance programs can be challenging to streamline without having real time feedback from the mechanical and structural systems.

Moveable bridge testing and monitoring represents a niche within traditional SHM or field testing activities and requires experience with how these bridges operate. Intelligent Infrastructure Systems has experience with multiple types of movable bridges that have faced challenges varying from severe degradation of primary structural elements to construction activities which altered the state of balance of the spans. As with our approach to general SHM, we do not believe that because a bridge is moveable it should be covered with sensors. We collaborate with bridge owners and operators to determine the feasibility of any data collection activity and then plan out a monitoring strategy best suited to meet their needs. 

For more information about our Moveable Bridge services, please contact us at