LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Real-time sensors were installed on the I-65 bridge over Wildcat Creek last week. Purdue engineer Jason Lloyd demonstrated what those sensors look like and exactly what data they collect.
Lloyd said it’s like going to the doctor.
“You say, ‘Doc, this is what’s happening, this is what I’m feeling.’ And they’ll put something on you. They’ll run a test an MRI,” said Lloyd. “They get some data back from your body, and it kind of helps them understand what the symptoms mean and then they make a decision.”
In the case of the Wildcat Creek Bridge, the symptom was settlement within the pier. So Purdue engineers had to decide which devices would investigate the problem the best. That’s why real-time sensors are needed.
“We have two different sensors that we put on the bridge,” said Lloyd.
The first one is an inclinometer which measures tilt.
“With that data, we can calculate actual displacements in terms of inches or even feet if that’s the case,” Lloyd explained.
The second is a strain-gauge which measures stress and helps determine how much load the bridge is carrying.
“As trucks drive over, you see these stresses change,” said Lloyd.
The real-time monitors are set up under both the northbound and southbound bridges. Right now, the Indiana Department of Transportation is using them mostly to monitor the southbound bridge, since it’s the one still carrying traffic at the moment.
Lloyd said everything seems normal with the bridge so far, but they will continue to monitor and analyze the data.